Belarusian government to raise additional funds from large businesses
Last week, Members of the upper chamber of the Belarusian parliament voted to strip of immunity Senator and influential businessman Andrei Pavlovsky from Grodno region. Over the past year and a half, this is the third case when a member of the Council of the Republic, who was a successful entrepreneur was stripped of immunity and faced criminal charges. The Belarusian authorities are likely to use such a fundraising tactics when they target a particular successful businessman, for instance Pavlovsky, and let him out of the jail after he pays an acceptable compensation to the state. Moreover, amid dwindling public resources, regional influence nomenclature groups may engage in a fight for resources, markets and assets, which would be mostly invisible to the broad population. As a result, some of them may face criminal charges. It should also be noted that Pavlovsky, being a major supplier of feed for agriculture, was a member of the influential agribusiness lobby, and his arrest could indicate a loss of influence by the group.
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.