Russia will help to refinance Belarusian foreign debt in 2015
In 2015, Russia will provide USD 1.3 billion worth financial assistance to Belarus. On April 30th, 2015 USD 110 million was transferred to the Finance Ministry account and payments on two loans have been deterred until Q3 2015 (USD 750 million and USD 450 million). In 2015, Belarus requires additional USD 1 billion to service her public debt. The loan from Russia may somewhat relieve the pressure on Belarus’ currency market and reduce fluctuations of the national currency against the currencies basket. As a result, interest rates on loans from international institutions may reduce and Belarus may put off the issue of Eurobonds until later. However, deterring foreign debt payments does not solve the overall problem with public debt payment. In 2016, Belarus will require more than USD 3 billion to service her international liabilities.
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.