No mass layoffs at large state enterprises ahead of presidential campaign
As expected, the decline in the competitiveness of Belarusian products on the Russian market and the deteriorating economic situation in Russia are interfering with the work of Belarusian enterprises which are mainly oriented towards Russian market. However, ahead of the 2015 presidential campaign the Belarusian authorities will not allow mass layoffs at the large state-owned enterprises and will not change the social economic policy. The authorities will seek to ensure social and political stability by expanding part-time employment and by reducing wages - but not below the acceptable level.
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.