Lukashenko wants to avoid greater share of private sector in economy
At the official opening of the project “Stadler – Minsk” (a plant to produce electric trains) in Fanipol near Minsk, President Lukashenko used stern wording vis-a-vis the Swiss investor, demanding to ensure performance of some agreements.
These arrangements are informal and include assistance by "Stadler Minsk" in developing Belkommunmash, a state-owned enterprise for producing public electric transport means. The Belarusian government fears that the remaining Soviet-era large state enterprises will lose their importance and that it may lose control over the economy due to the arrival of large investors and the increased share of the private sector in the economy. Meanwhile, the president has no plans to change the existing economic model with the state dominating in the economy, especially ahead of the presidential election in 2015.
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.