2017: System updates will continue. Forecast for 2017.
Forecast for 2017:
- The state is likely to preserve the monopoly in the economy, while somewhat updating approaches to the state property management
- Due to cutbacks in social protection, wage and job cuts, social tension is likely to grow
- The state is likely to extend co-optation policy to minimise influence of different political groups
- The opposition is unlikely to unite, but is likely to retain constructive tactics aimed at participation
- The law enforcement is likely to continue to intervene in conflicts between nomenclature groups
- The Russo-Belarusian confrontation over cooperation terms is likely to carry on, but may become less intense
- Belarus is likely to pursue normalisation with the West
The main threat is that the conflict between Minsk and Moscow is likely to build up; Russia may increase the price of support for the Belarusian economy.
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.