Belarusian authorities show willingness to suppress anti-Russian activity
A rally has been held in Minsk in support for 25-year-old Eduard Palchis, an alleged author of www.1863x.com. This popular online resource published political texts with sharp anti-imperial statements and criticism of the Belarusian authorities and the opposition, primarily for their pro-Russian actions. The author worked on the website anonymously under the pseudonym John Silver. Previously, Eduard Palchis had attempted to escape from prosecution by the Belarusian authorities and was detained while crossing the Ukrainian-Russian border. In the Russia, Palchis also faced criminal charges. Palchis was extradited to Belarus in late May. Apparently, the Belarusian authorities are willing to suppress activities of anonymous activists who not only sharply criticize the Belarusian leadership, but also make anti-Russian statements.
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.