Redistribution of market among large businesses in Belarus before presidential elections
On August 19th, citing "reliable sources" www.belaruspartisan.org reported about the detention of Yuri Chizh business partner, who ranked 19th in the top of the most influential Belarusian businessmen according to Yezhednevnik. Yet there was no official confirmation of the detention of ‘Triple’ holding co-owner Vladimir Yaprintsev. Recently, ‘Triple’ holding, whose major owner is Yuri Chizh, Lukashenka’s close friend, has been engaged in a scandal around its failure to meet obligations vis-a-vis a Ukrainian company, to which ‘Triple’ had agreed to supply 2000 tons of diesel fuel with total worth circa USD 1.6 million. In recent years, the Belarusian company ‘Triple’ consistently strengthened its positions on the Ukrainian market of petroleum products (in 2011-2012 ‘Triple’ was re-exporting Russian oil products under the guise of solvents and lubricants in order to avoid export duty payments to the Russian budget). Large Belarusian businesses in Lukashenka’s close environment are likely to be redistributing the most profitable markets ahead of the presidential elections.
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.