Authorities increase attention to public safety in Minsk
The Minsk city underground stopped working for three hours on February 26th following a terrorism alert.
It is noteworthy that the number of news reports about incidents in the Minsk metro increases when socio-economic tensions grow in Belarus. In recent months, large population groups have been cut off some state social benefits, resulting in discontent with ongoing socio-economic policies. Furthermore, the recent events in Ukraine have exposed a deep rift in Belarusian society and amplified the radicalization of views in the opposition and the government. If social tensions in society continue to grow, the authorities will demonstrate their control over the infrastructure in Minsk more often.
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.