Petroleum goods prices raised
As of 21 July the retail prices for petroleum products have been raised. Prices have increased by 3%. The “Belneftekhim” reported that “the revision of prices for petroleum goods is linked to gradual price adjustment within the Customs Union”.
At the same time “Belneftekhim” noted that “the current retail prices (subject to increase) remain below the level of prices in the Russian Federation by 2-8%.”
“the current retail prices (subject to increase) remain below the level of prices in the Russian Federation by 2-8%.”
While maneuvering between social (price) stability, and improvement of the financial state of the largest exporters, the authorities have chosen the latter.
The promise of the President of 8 June regarding unchanged petroleum prices in the coming quarter lasted just over a month.
Indirectly it confirms the sill critical state of the Belarusian economy. Moreover, increasing petrol prices by a symbolic amount the authorities make an attempt to test the loyalty of the public reaction (drivers are one of the most active part of the population). By hard-suppressing and preventing any kind of protests (an action “Stop: petrol” took place on the day the petroleum prices were increased) the authorities are preparing the population for future increases in prices and tariffs, which will affect the wealth of the average Belarusian to a greater extent than the increase of petrol price by 3%.
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.