Pension qualifications in Belarus to remain limited
The Standing Committee on Labour and Social Affairs of the House of Representatives rejected a proposal to return army service, maternity leave and post-graduate studies as qualifications for a pension accounting in Belarus. Amid the absence of an explicit discontent in society with curtailed pension guarantees, the Belarusian authorities believe public discussions are unnecessary and could boost interest in the topic in society. There were no media reports about spontaneous actions of citizens or mass protests organized by the opposition demanding changes in the government pension policy. Amid the absence of explicit manifestations of discontent, the state will continue to reduce social protection for the population.
The Belarusian authorities regard the Catholic conference as yet another international event to promote Minsk as a global negotiating platform. Minsk’s proposal to organise a meeting between the Roman-Catholic Church and the Russian Orthodox Church is rather an image-making undertaking than a serious intention. However, the authorities could somewhat extend the opportunities for the Roman-Catholic Church in Belarus due to developing contacts with the Catholic world.
Minsk is attempting to lay out a mosaic from various international religious, political and sportive events to shape a positive image of Belarus for promoting the Helsinki 2.0 idea.
Belarus’ invitation to the head of the Holy See for a meeting with the Patriarch of the Russian Orthodox Church should be regarded as a continuation of her foreign policy efforts in shaping Minsk’s peacekeeping image and enhancing Belarus’ international weight. The Belarusian authorities are aware that their initiative is unlikely to find supporters among the leadership of the Russian Orthodox Church in Moscow. In Russia, isolationist sentiments prevail.
In addition, for domestic audiences, the authorities make up for the lack of tangible economic growth with demonstrations of growth in Minsk’s authority at international level through providing a platform for religious, sportive and other dialogues.