Lukashenko anticipates reduction of social guarantees ahead of elections

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April 22, 2016 19:01

Speaking to workers at Protos Ltd in the Mogilev region, Lukashenko said that, the state would increase support for young families, where possible, including in acquiring property.

Currently, the Belarusian authorities are searching for additional sources to replenish the state budget. The authorities not only lack the resources to pump the population’s incomes ahead of the elections, but also cannot ensure that social guarantees will remain at today’s level. In fact, President Lukashenko is preparing public opinion for the state to gradually withdraw from the social sector. This will mean abandoning some populist social projects and transferring social responsibility onto the citizens.

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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.