State is ready to shift social responsibility on to private business
At a meeting with the local population in Polotsk, Belarus’ Deputy Prime Minister Natalia Kochanova said that there was demand for private kindergartens in Belarus. Due to the lack of funds, the Belarusian authorities continuously reduce state social responsibility vis-à-vis the Belarusian citizens, including in secondary and pre-school education. As the authorities restrict social aid from the state, they have to allow citizens and private business to engage in social fields, in particular, where the state is no longer able to preserve former level of assurance.
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.