Russia allocated additional loans for Belarus’ economy
Under the agreement, Belarus will receive USD 500 mln for 8 years to construct the nuclear power plant and BelAZ will receive USD 75 mln funding for current operations. These loans are long-term, enabling to reduce the demand for foreign currency in 2014. Budgetary funds, which have already been spent on the NPP construction, will be reimbursed from the loan. The freed budgetary resources may be used to support other economic sectors. The loan’s terms do not envisage any repayments within the next four years. BelAZ and other organizations involved in the construction of the nuclear power plant will be able to reduce their current and overdue debts.
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.