Minsk is unlikely to complicate relations with Western capitals over political prisoners in case of trade union leaders
The Minsk branch of the Investigative Committee has received the case on non-payment of taxes by the leadership of the REP trade union from the State Control Committee. Some time ago, the White Legion case was also transferred from the SCC to the IC, which resulted in the case being ‘frozen’. Probably, the power block is attempting to retain its influence on the public funds distribution during the period of political calm and summer holidays. Meanwhile, the Belarusian leadership is unwilling to deteriorate relations with Western capitals, and it could drop charges against the trade union leaders.
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.