Minsk regards Chisinau as partner in western policy and not rival in relations with Kremlin
Moldovan President Igor Dodon wants to lead his country along the Belarusian path: in domestic policy, economics and rapprochement with Russia. The Belarusian ideologists have used the visit of Moldovan President Dodon to Minsk to boost the appeal of the existing social, economic and political model in Belarus. The conservative block has received additional confirmation of ‘efficiency’ of the Lukashenka’s course and the optionality of economic reforms. Minsk is interested in Chisinau’s assistance with promoting its political and economic interests in relations with Western capitals, so as Moldova has closer cooperation with the latter within the framework of the European integration. Meanwhile, the Belarusian leadership has not publicly supported President Dodon's aspirations for integration with the EEU, which could dilute Minsk’s image as the only ally in the west and deteriorate negotiating positions in relations with the Kremlin.
The Belarusian authorities have launched a discussion on the moratorium or abolition of the death penalty under the pressure of Belarusian human rights activists and international community. Apparently, the authorities are interested in monitoring public sentiments and response to the possible abolition of the capital punishment. The introduction of a moratorium on the death penalty would depend on the dynamics in Belarusian-European relations, efforts of the civil society organisations and Western capitals.
In Grodno last week, the possibility of abolishing the death penalty in Belarus or introducing a moratorium was discussed.
The Belarusian authorities are likely to continue to support the death penalty in Belarus. During his rule, President Lukashenka pardoned only one person, and courts sentenced to death more than 400 people since the early 1990s. Over the past year, Belarusian courts sentenced to death several persons and one person was executed.
There are no recent independent polls about people’s attitude about the death penalty in Belarus. Apparently, this issue is not a priority for the population. In many ways, public opinion about the abolition of the death penalty would depend on the tone of the state-owned media reports.
That said, the Belarusian Orthodox Church and the Roman-Catholic Church stand for the abolition of the capital punishment, however their efforts in this regard only limit to public statements about their stance. Simultaneously, the authorities could have influenced public opinion about the death penalty through a focused media campaign in the state media. As they did, for example, with the nuclear power plant construction in Astravets. Initially unpopular project of the NPP construction was broadly promoted in the state media, and eventually, according to independent pollsters, was accepted by most population.