Minsk is attempting to form positive attitude towards Belarusian NPP outside Belarus
Belarus has invited Lithuanian experts to visit the country for consultations on nuclear safety and environmental protection. The Belarusian authorities attach great importance to the formation of a positive attitude outside Belarus to the NPP construction in Belarus. Before Lithuanian specialists had arrived, Minsk hosted the IAEA delegation led by Director General Yukiya Amano, who met with senior officials, including President Lukashenka. Internally, there is no great opposition to the NPP construction in Belarus, which could encourage the Belarusian authorities to suspend the project. In addition, the president has declared an increase in the share of electricity in the energy balance of the country as a response to the threat from Lithuania to block energy export to the European market from Belarus after the NPP launch. The Belarusian authorities hope to soften Vilnius’ position on the nuclear power plant in Ostrovets by forming a positive attitude outside Belarus regarding nuclear energy in Belarus.
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.