Kremlin supports re-election of Alexander Lukashenka
At a meeting with the Belarusian president at the Second Forum of Regions of Russia and Belarus in Sochi, President Putin expressed confidence that the forthcoming presidential elections in Belarus would be successful and in compliance with international standards. Simultaneously, President Lukashenka has once again confirmed the loyalty to the Kremlin’s integration projects in the post-Soviet space. Unlike during the 2010 presidential campaign in Belarus, Moscow has not turned its propaganda machine against the Belarusian president. Russia is not interested in the destabilisation of the situation in Belarus during the elections and supports yet another re-election of Alexander Lukashenka as the president.
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.