Russian labour market gradually regains popularity among Belarusians
According to Rosstat, in March 2016, the average monthly wage in Russia totalled USD 504, which is 46% more than the average wage in Belarus. Compared with January 2016, wages in Russian have increased by 19%, and in some areas, they double Belarusian. If lay-offs persist in Belarus, Belarusians are likely to hit on the Russian labour market and increase the cash flow from Russia to Belarus. In addition, the Belarusian labour market is likely to see a reduction in foreign workers. Due to the financial health of most enterprise, and the need to cut costs, wages in Belarusian public sector are likely to fall behind the inflation. Pay rises may become available only to the highly skilled workers in order to preserve the country’s human resource capacity.
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.