All-Belarusian People’s Assembly may adopt unpopular economic decisions
The draft of Socio-Economic Development Programme for 2016-2020 will be presented to the delegates of the 5th All-Belarusian People’s Assembly. Previously, the Assembly, as a mobilisation instrument, was always held before the presidential elections. In 2015, the Belarusian authorities decided holding it in the post-election period most likely due to the lack of appealing economic development plans for the next five years. President Lukashenka may attempt to enlist the support of the executive to make some unpopular economic decisions, which, however, would not endanger the overall architecture of his power, but will meet the requirements for the IMF loan.
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.