Belarusian authorities seem ready to reintroduce some pension guarantees to relax tension in society
Belarusian MPs have proposed to the Council of Ministers to include maternity leave, military service and study in the university in the pension insurance record. The authorities are likely to accept some of the proposed changes, for example, maternity leave and military service. Some opposition organisations have used the issue of reduced pension guarantees in their programmes and campaigns during the parliamentary elections (eg the centre-right coalition, Tell the Truth) and while making official contacts with deputies and the executive to put pressure on the authorities (Tell the Truth). In addition, amid the absence of success in improving people’s well-being, if the authorities reintroduce some social guarantees, their ratings are likely to improve. The authorities are likely to continue the practice of adopting unpopular measures and later rescind some most controversial in order to relax tension in society and demonstrate responsiveness to public outcry.
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.