Belarusian leadership more frequently proposes voluntaristic solutions unpopular among population
After the president ordered that schools should start classes at 9 am, many schools started revising their schedules as of September 1st. The president is increasingly suspending from developing strategic decisions and state policies and focuses on personal interests, which often contradicts public moods and opinions. Lukashenka’s intention to change the school schedule caused a controversial reaction among the population, growth in discontent and raised a wave of criticism against the president. Should the government decide to make changes in the educational process, the state would bear additional financial costs. In addition, tension would grow among the teaching staff due to extra workload and parents would be discontent due to the need to adjust their working schedules. The government is likely to revise the president’s unpopular decision regarding the school schedule depending on the response from the population.
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.