Leadership change in the official Union of Poles in Belarus
The most likely reason for the resignation of Stanislav Semashko is related to his inability to organize the efficient operation of UPB, especially during a crisis of the Belarusian-Polish relations in 2011.
On January 14, the Main Board of UPB accepted resignation of the Union Chairman Stanislav Semashko, offered by him on January 5. The Deputy Chairman and Head of the Minsk Regional Division of Poles Mechislav Lysy was appointed an Acting Chairman. The new Chairman should be elected at the Congress of the Union, which can be extraordinary, according to M. Lysy.
During the work and especially after the December 19, 2010 Semashko made ??some loud statements and announced several initiatives in the UPB work, but did not show significant results, and thus authorities no longer needed him. It is also very likely to be a personal initiative of Semashko, who got into the "black list" of banned to entering the EU in 2011, which threatened his business interests. Political reasons for the resignation are unlikely.
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.