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 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.