Tightening of the monetary policy
The National Bank of Belarus stopped providing resources to commercial banks in the Belarusian rubles in exchange for foreign currency (in swap transactions, exchange deposits, etc).
At the same time the National Bank restricted issuing of loans by the state banks and increased their costs significantly in order to reduce pressure on the currency market.
The government ruled not to raise the base wage rate (effective as of 1 November 2010 and amounting to Br 118,000) before the end of the year. However wages will be adjusted in accordance with the inflation rate. In addition, the government intends to make a one-time payment to low-income retirees.
These solutions aim to reduce the supply of money and obligations to the Anti-Crisis Fund of the EurAsEc. These actions of the Government and the National Bank will certainly have a desired effect however they will not provide with a sharp reduction of money supply and will not save budget from the deficit. Another unpleasant decision the authorities should make in the very near future is to raise tariffs for housing utilities.
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.