Belarus’ authorities prompted to reduce social support
Housing and Utilities Minister Shorets announced the start of serious reforms in the housing sector.
This attempt is not the first one for the Belarusian authorities in reforming housing and utilities services – however,previous reforms were unsuccessful. Interestingly, the government has announced reforms in the housing and utilities sector simultaneously with the IMF negotiations over a new loan for the structural reforms in the Belarusian economy. Eventually, the Belarusian authorities will be prompted to change their housing and utility policy due to budgetary cuts on social policy and plans to stop subsidising the population in paying the utility bills.
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.