Population increasingly distrusts banking system
During December 2014, Belarusian citizens cut their ruble savings within the national banking system by BYR 6.1 trillion or by 13.4%.
Siphoned-off funds went to the foreign currency market and did not return to banks in the form of the growth of foreign-currency deposits. Taking into consideration the rising rate of the Belarusian ruble in relation to the currency basket, one can expect a further fall in ruble bank deposits, while the lowering of interest rates may be stopped and borrowing costs for enterprises will continue to be prohibitive. The outflow of foreign currency deposits may lead to a ban on early terminations of foreign currency deposit contracts and a worsening situation on the currency exchange market.
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.