Russian economy downfall crashed Belarusian industry indicators
The National Statistics Committee data suggests that in January 2015, Belarus’ production decreased by 6.2% compared with January 2014. Belarus’ industry suffered mainly due to the recession in Russia and because of the large export volumes to this country. Belarus’ industry is likely to continue to fall due to the lack of substantial positive results in the petro-chemical industry. In addition, mass lay-offs will continue to trend; settlement of payments will deteriorate both domestically and with foreign partners; and some unprofitable enterprises will close. The Belarusian government has abandoned the practice of stimulating growth artificially by inflating production plans and industrial workers should forget about significant wage growth 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.