Tighter conditions of fuel sales
Vehicles with foreign registration number plates while filling fuel tanks at the Belarusian petrol stations in the border areas and on international highways can pay with hard currency only.
Given the current environment: 1) when further increases of fuel prices in the country is impossible for political reasons, 2) the continuing disparity in prices, and 3) the multiplicity of exchange rates, and 4) an acute shortage of foreign currency at the “Belneftekhim” concern, - the decision to protect the domestic market and to increase foreign currency earnings of the refinery is only logical, although not market-based.
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.