USD 500 monthly wage is unlikely in 2017 in Belarus due to economic slowdown
According to Belstat, in February 2017, the average wage in Belarus totalled USD 378 and increased by USD 8 as compared with January. In national currency, wages have decreased in February, as compared with January, for the first time in the last six years due to negative trends in the economy and the decline in GDP by 1% in February 2017 as compared with February 2016. Amid statements about the need to employ all unemployed citizens, employment in the economy is likely to increase, state enterprises are likely to increase part-time employment by temporarily hiring unemployed, many enterprises are likely to reduce working days, hence the average wage would increase, but unlikely to reach USD 500 in 2017. The state has limited financial resources to inflate the economy and increase people’s incomes. The existing economic model is incapable of overcoming the recession, which means, wages are unlikely to grow.
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.