Authorities ban more Belarusians from using the Pole’s Card

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April 22, 2016 19:04

An article of the law “On a status of a local deputy” has been changed so that the local deputies can no longer use the Pole’s Card (Karta Polaka) [issued to individuals who cannot receive dual citizenship but with Polish roots], or other similar “privileges”.

The Belarusian authorities started to take action to limit use of the Pole’s Card in 2011. In 2012, the state officials, members of state security agencies, and deputies were banned from using these privileges, as well as from using similar privileges by other foreign states. Before the start of the presidential campaign of 2015, the state is continuing to enforce the loyalty of certain population groups which have some influence in Belarusian society. Most likely, the authorities will gradually increase the number of people who will be restricted from using the Pole’s card.

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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.

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