Privatization: conditions change
The authorities adjust the initial value of enterprises put up for an auction by the inflation index, implying they are not willing to apply any discounts. A precedent with the removal of a potentially interesting food enterprise from an auction implies that the nomenclature will intensify its efforts in the fight for access to property.
The initial selling price of stocks of enterprises will be determined by taking inflation into account, thereby partially reversing the effects of devaluation, which reduced their real price. The government ruled that the starting price of government property put out for tenders and auctions will be indexed by the price growth rate of manufactured goods (the Ministry of Statistics reports prices for manufactured goods in January - July 2011 increased by 58.8%). Moreover, the initial price of the stock will also include the amounts of authorized funds increases from the state budget. However these rules would not apply to state-owned enterprises put out for an auction before the new rules enter into force.
The authorities are trying to maximize revenues from privatization via indexing costs of assets in Br, due to the devaluation of the Belarusian ruble. Therefore, the authorities rely on the fiscal effect, while a natural reduction of the price of assets in foreign currency could stir up the interest of investors. The authorities prefer failed auctions to the sale of assets at a reduced price.
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.