Pro-government candidates borrow economic rhetoric from opposition candidates
Deputy Prime Minister Vasily Matyushevsky at a joint session of the two chambers of the Belarusian parliament noted that the economy developed according to the pessimistic scenario. It should be noted that the Deputy Prime Minister addressed the Parliament with a rather liberal rhetoric and outlined some of the economic policy mechanisms in the medium term. The announced government measures are likely to lay the basis for economic section in the election programmes of pro-government candidates in the 2016 parliamentary elections. Including, changes in the state support system, introducing leading corporate governance practices at state-owned enterprises; changing government functions, promoting property integrity and minimum intervention by the regulatory authorities, developing small and medium-sized businesses, traditional and innovative economic sectors, raising foreign investment. The government is likely to take the focus off the opposition candidates in the parliamentary campaign by borrowing some of their proposals to reform the economy.
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.