Belarusian authorities attempted to discredit independent pollsters
In the view of the parliamentary elections, the Belarusian state TV channel Belarus 1 has attacked the IISEPS independent pollster. Apparently, amid reduced popularity of state institutions, the authorities are concerned about the potential disparity between the real support for the pro-governmental candidates (as reported by independent pollsters) and the official election results. Amid pre-election mobilisation of society, the Belarusian leadership is afraid of a possible response by the protest electorate to opposition calls to protests. The authorities are attempting to discredit independent pollsters completely and prevent polls during the election campaigns in the view of falling government’s ratings.
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.