Belarusian authorities pushing narrative of hopelessness and disappointment with street protests in society
Amnesty International has recognised activist Dzmitry Palienka a prisoner of consciousness. Minsk aspires that Brussels is not interested in halting normalisation with Belarus in coming months. In addition, the authorities aim to depoliticise society and prevent protest mobilisation in the autumn-winter through reminding about the inevitability of punishment and creating an atmosphere of disappointment in society. Apparently, by resuming discussions about the new edition of decree on social dependants, the authorities aim to create an impression of failure of political protests and attempts to apply pressure on the authorities through street protests among potential participants.
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.