Belarusian president is attempting to shift responsibility for unemployment onto government and local authorities
President Lukashenka instructed to find jobs for all unemployed by May 1st, 2017. The presidential administration has stepped up pressure on the government and local authorities to create jobs and inflate people’s incomes. The authorities are likely to curtail layoffs and resume excessive employment policy at state enterprises to halt the dynamics of people’s participation in street protests. However, most likely, amid the absence of economic reforms and unfavourable external economic environment, local authorities would be prompted to sabotage the top leadership’s task. If so, President Lukashenka is likely to attempt to boost his ratings by criticising local authorities and, possibly, reshuffling the government.
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.