Social housing with minimal support from Belarusian state
In 2017, housing construction budget is envisaged at BYR 3.8 billion, of which BYR 3 billion would make people’s own funds and funds of organisations. The housing construction programme will reduce the construction volume to 3 million square metres in 2017 and soft loans on construction for big families will reduce to BYR 54 million, which should balance out the housing construction market. As a result, prices on the primary and secondary housing market should stabilise, the volume of currency savings spent on improving the housing conditions should increase; housing construction companies should reduce in number, so as the employment in the construction industry, simultaneously, the number of migrant workers from Belarus in the EU and Russia is likely to grow. State building organizations will have a priority in the allocation of construction sites and in subcontracting under state programmes, which means that private companies will be forced either to stop their activities or to look for contracts outside Belarus.
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.