Belarusian budget to be replenished with penalties
On August 20th, 2016, amendments to the Administrative Code of Belarus will take effect, envisaging an increase in the number of fines for various administrative offenses. Belarus has an annual plan for penalties to be listed in the state budget. In 2016, the plan is raise BYR 118 million from different fines. The state is likely to step up control over settlements between individuals and businesses due to a penalty for exceeding the limit of cash payments. For instance, it may make test purchases of expensive goods in order to identify such violations. The authorities may also step up control over entertainment sphere due to a penalty for failing to take measures to prevent the spread of drugs. Taking into account the practice of previous years, projected budget revenues from penalties are likely to exceed the target by 15-20% in 2016.
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.