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President Lukashenko keeps away from privatization process (yet)

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April 22, 2016 18:48

Belarus’ Prime Minister Mikhail Myasnikovich and Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev have had a telephone conversation about the oil supply in H2 2014 and bilateral integration. Russian oil supplies to Belarusian refineries directly depend on the Belarusian assets’ privatisation progress in favour of Russian companies. Medvedev has positively assessed the level of preparations by Belarus for the integration projects, however, the final decision with regard to the state assets’ privatisation remains with President Lukashenko. Lukashenko is not interested in losing control over large parts of the Belarusian economy, which may result in exacerbated Russo-Belarusian relations.

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Image: Catholic.by

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.

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