Russia’s tax manoeuvre will result in higher fuel prices in Belarus
On October 21st, Russia’s State Duma approved amendments to the Russian Tax Code in the first reading. If fully approved, the new amendments will change the way the oil industry is taxed in Russia.
The tax on resources extraction will increase and duties on some oil products will reduce, which will lead to higher costs of oil supplied to Belarus and revision of excise duties on fuel. Fuel prices in Belarus might rise due to the expected rise in fuel prices in Russia. Belarus might also increase the volume of re-export schemes for Russian oil products. Russia may limit the volume of oil supply to Belarus in order to limit Russian budget losses.
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.