Privatization in favour of foreign investors: still no transactions
State-owned shares of MTS [Mobile TeleSystems] are planned to auction this year (51%), announced the Head of the Accounting and Disposal of Shares Department of the State Property Fund of the SPC Anna Kornievich.
“Gazprom agrees to pay $ 2.5 billion for 50% of Beltransgaz, the contract could be signed “tomorrow” if Belarus does not raise additional conditions”, said the Head of the Russian gas holding Alexei Miller.
There is an obvious mismatch in the negotiating positions. Belarus is trying to influence investors by applying brute force however it is unlikely that such tactics will be successful.
At the same time, the lack of significant revenues from privatization is not in the interests of the authorities as they 1) must show to the existing and potential donors and creditors that privatization is ongoing in the country, 2) need to attract FDIs to implement a plan and 3) thereby have to close the trade deficit.
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.