Belarusian authorities will not allow new political prisoners to appear
Activists of the non-registered organisation "Young Front" Dmitry Dashkevich and Sergei Palchevsky reported on June 7th that they received a notification from the KGB dropping charges against them in the “mass riots” case. As predicted, the authorities are attempting to relax tension with regard to the ‘White Legion’ case by setting the detainees free. Apparently, the Belarusian leadership is interested in retaining the dynamics in the Belarusian-European normalisation and have received a caution against appearance of new political prisoners. Having put a leash on the protest movement, the Belarusian authorities are demonstrating their readiness for a dialogue with the opposition, however, so far, the latter has not publicly suggested any negotiating topics.
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.