Disgraced Belarusian ideologists attempt to restore their influence on Russo-Belarusian relations

August 17, 2016 10:26

Pro-Kremlin analysts specializing in the Belarusian-Russian relations have launched a public discussion to find a way out of the Belarusian-Russian integration deadlock. Simultaneously, disgraced Belarusian ideologists of the "Russian world" are attempting to disrupt the normalization between Minsk and western capitals by discrediting Foreign Minister Vladimir Makei, who, according to them, is the architect of the western policy in Belarus. The Kremlin’s information attack aims to launch a public discussion in Belarus about her future developmental choice in order to deepen the split in the Belarusian power elite and reinforce positions of Eurasian integration supporters. Apparently, the discussion about the possible successor is likely to prompt President Lukashenka to pay more attention to the Russo-Belarusian agenda.

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Death penalty discussion in Belarus: yet not ready for either abolition or moratorium
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The Belarusian authorities have launched a discussion on the moratorium or abolition of the death penalty under the pressure of Belarusian human rights activists and international community. Apparently, the authorities are interested in monitoring public sentiments and response to the possible abolition of the capital punishment. The introduction of a moratorium on the death penalty would depend on the dynamics in Belarusian-European relations, efforts of the civil society organisations and Western capitals.

In Grodno last week, the possibility of abolishing the death penalty in Belarus or introducing a moratorium was discussed.

The Belarusian authorities are likely to continue to support the death penalty in Belarus. During his rule, President Lukashenka pardoned only one person, and courts sentenced to death more than 400 people since the early 1990s. Over the past year, Belarusian courts sentenced to death several persons and one person was executed.

There are no recent independent polls about people’s attitude about the death penalty in Belarus. Apparently, this issue is not a priority for the population. In many ways, public opinion about the abolition of the death penalty would depend on the tone of the state-owned media reports.

That said, the Belarusian Orthodox Church and the Roman-Catholic Church stand for the abolition of the capital punishment, however their efforts in this regard only limit to public statements about their stance. Simultaneously, the authorities could have influenced public opinion about the death penalty through a focused media campaign in the state media. As they did, for example, with the nuclear power plant construction in Astravets. Initially unpopular project of the NPP construction was broadly promoted in the state media, and eventually, according to independent pollsters, was accepted by most population.