Belarusian authorities attempt to reduce conflicts in society through dialogue with their opponents

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September 10, 2017 23:59
Image: Democracy in Dialogue

"Tell the Truth" leaders have met with the Economy Minister and discussed the opportunities for civil society’s participation in addressing economic issues. The state has demonstrated openness and readiness for a constructive dialogue with the opposition on economic development, social policy and employment, as well as about the national unity. Contacts with civil and opposition activists help officials to monitor public sentiments and receive feedback in the absence of independent pollsters. In addition, the dialogue of the authorities with opponents allows to relax tension in society and demonstrate intention to overcome ideological confrontation.

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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.

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