Belarus’ government will pick citizens’ pockets to finance elections
The draft law on the national budget for 2015 envisages an increase in income tax from 12% to 13%, as well as some other duties and excise taxes.
The Belarusian authorities have been prompted to pick the pockets of some citizen groups in order to buy the loyalty of others during the election campaign in 2015. However, due to the lack of funds, the government will continue to reduce social benefits in education, health, and housing. It will also introduce new taxes or increase existing ones in order to obtain funding for some priority projects and initiatives at a national level.
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.