Petrol prices go up - faster than salaries grow
Regardless the fact that on 1st December petrol prices have increased for the 11th time in 2011, the price of gasoline has not yet reached the pre-crisis level (USD 1.1-1.2 per liter). Therefore further price increases will follow.
On 3 December concern “Belneftekhim” announced the following, the 11th since the beginning of 2011, petrol price increase. Prices have increased by 10% on average.
Petrol prices on the domestic market do not cover the cost of its production: refineries are operating at a loss, while export of petroleum products does not compensate for the cost of raw materials and losses on the domestic market. Moreover, the price of gasoline is still significantly lower than in the neighboring countries, which increases the demand for cheaper fuel on the domestic market. In the meanwhile, a common market with Russia requires adjustment of prices and the principles of the pricing policy.
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.