Official Minsk resumes diplomatic pressure on Warsaw
Polish Foreign Minister Witold Waszczykowski, told Wsieci last week, that relations between Minsk and Warsaw had stabilized, unlike relations between Poland and Ukraine. However, unlike Polish diplomats, the Belarusian Foreign Ministry has emphasized the difference in historical-ideological views. That said, the statement of the Belarusian Foreign Ministry has openly dissented with that of the Polish Foreign Ministry about the absence of ideological disputes and called into question Polish diplomatic successes in Eastern policy.
Allegedly, the Belarusian authorities were displeased with the fact that Poland continued to support the Belsat TV channel, Charter 97 website and other media, or simply used Poland as a balance in their European policy. Perhaps, the Belarusian authorities consider the Polish foreign policy as not independent enough, shaped within the framework outlined by the US and the EU.
Meanwhile, Minsk’s anti-Polish attacks would serve as an evidence that strengthening of relations with the West was not in opposition to the alliance with Russia. Amid reputational gains on the international arena following the OSCE PA session held in Minsk, Minsk could resume a more rigid rhetoric vis-à-vis Warsaw.
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.