Minsk is counting on Vatican in normalizing Belarusian-European relations
During a meeting with the Apostolic Nuncio in Belarus Claudio Gugerotti, President Lukashenka said that he would like to meet with Pope Francis. The Belarusian officials from time to time talk about their interest in the mutual visits at the highest level between Belarus and Vatican. They are unlikely to expect Pope Francis’ visit to Belarus as head of the Catholic Church due to the opposition from the Belarusian Orthodox Church bishops. However, Minsk is attempting to step up diplomatic contacts with the Holy See and to use them as an additional mechanism for the normalization of relations with Western capitals. On their side, the Belarusian authorities are ready not to interfere with the development of the Catholic Church in the country.
During searches of social and "green" activists and anarchists, law enforcement has seized computers, mobile phones and publications. The authorities have also exerted additional pressure on supporters of unauthorized street protests and independent lawyers, who represented defendants in the White Legion case. The security services have stepped up the persecution of opponents before the street protests announced by the opposition. Apparently, the Belarusian authorities aspire that participants in street protests would reduce in number and that the low interest of the population to socio-political agenda before the local election campaign would retain.