Minsk said to be disappointed with Eurasian integration
Head of the Council of the Republic Mikhail Myasnikovich said that the integration process within the Eurasian Economic Union was slow, and that by the states with large economies would completely subordinate other EEU members, including Belarus, which would lose her sovereignty. Official Minsk voiced disappointment with the Eurasian integration process, which had not stimulated the Belarusian economy and had not resolved economic imbalances – first of all, had not helped to unload the overstocked warehouses at Belarusian enterprises or prevented from suspension of production. The Belarusian authorities do not want to lose monetary sovereignty and would not introduce the single currency on the Kremlin’s terms in the immediate or distant future. However, the Belarusian authorities may agree to coordinate monetary policy with Moscow in exchange for the lifting of restrictions on Belarusian goods to access the Russian market.
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.