Trade Ministry to punish retailers for late payments to tobacco and alcohol suppliers
The Trade Ministry has informed the Minsk city executive committee of substantial payment arrears by Evrotorg and Rublevsky to food suppliers. Alcohol and tobacco make up to 10% of their retail sales. Checks performed by the Trade Ministry aim to improve settlements in trade as a whole, increase the range of goods on sale and increase the share of Belarusian produces on the shelves in these retailers. The Trade Ministry has threatened these two retailers with revoking their licenses for alcohol and tobacco for a short period and suggested that as a matter of compensation they could buy MAZ trucks for their fleet.
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.