Minsk aims to step up Belarusian staff in international organisations
Belarusian Ambassador to Vienna Elena Kupchina, who was nominated as a candidate for the OSCE Secretary General post, could not ensure a consensus during the OSCE member states’ vote. The Belarusian Foreign Ministry attempted to take advantage of the favourable foreign policy environment and the support from the Kremlin to enhance its diplomatic successes. Apparently, the Belarusian leadership has started a systemic work to increase its participation in authoritative international organisations. Belarusian representatives at high positions in international organisations could reinforce ambitions of the Belarusian leadership on global peacekeeping initiatives. In all likelihood, the strengthening of the diplomatic block in the Belarusian politics could lead to tension in relations with the power block, which, however, could be relaxed due to increased involvement of law enforcement in the redistribution of state resources and anti-corruption persecution. Nevertheless, due to the interest in stepping up its international presence, Minsk is likely to soften domestic policy and engage in some dialogue with civil society.
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.