MAZ bus sales guaranteed by state
According to the Government Resolution No 811 of October 11th, 2016, regional executive committees are encouraged to purchase 386 buses with a total worth BYN 41.3 billion in 2016-2017 in order to improve public transport services. The Development Bank is set to issue soft loans for such purchases. This measure is aimed at supporting MAZ sales. As a result, MAZ would increase production and improve its performance indicators. In addition, it would slowdown with layoffs. Given the economic situation at large industrial enterprises in Belarus, this form of support could be applied at other enterprises producing machinery, equipment and agricultural engineering.
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.