Belarusian authorities supportive of security forces in opposition to public pressure
The Belarusian Interior Ministry has responded to the criticism by "some human rights defenders" about illegal actions by law enforcement employees. Recently, there was an increase in reports in the independent media about illegal actions or abuse of duty by law enforcement officers against citizens. Nevertheless, independent polls by IISEPS and MIA own polls show people’s satisfaction with the law enforcement activity aiming to protect public order and the rights and legitimate interests of citizens. The law enforcement refers to such polls when denies the existence of significant deficiencies in the law enforcement system. The Belarusian government regards the security forces as the main instrument in protecting state interests and ensuring social and political stability, which suppresses changes in the law enforcement system and its greater openness to society. In addition, the authorities send a signal of support to lower and mid-level law enforcement officers, even if they exceed their power amid political liberalization and a more tolerant attitude to public criticism.
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.