Trade Ministry retains discriminatory measures against Russian and Kazakh products
As of February 3rd, new rules on recommended pricing of imported goods took effect. Producers may only increase the selling prices by how much the value of the imported raw materials has changed; price increases on raw materials from Russia and Kazakhstan are not allowed. As a result, trade and commodity flow is expected to reorient in favour of the EU and Ukraine, thus reducing the range of Russian products on the shelves in retail chains. Local trade conflicts within the EAEC may persist and the authorities may register greater number of violations in the selling price formation by enterprises. Losses from the devaluation and inconsistent pricing measures by the public authorities may lead to fewer importers, reduced job opportunities, and an increase in real unemployment.
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.