Belarusian leadership is satisfied with control over law enforcement albeit conflicts in Interior Ministry multiply
Three district militiamen from the Borisov district police department, who had refused to go to work, have been fired. Controversies in the Interior Ministry have multiplied, pointing to systemic problems and a decrease in the motivation among officers. This spring, police officers from Krichev complained to Interior Minister Igor Shunevich about their local leadership, which led to their dismissal and unsuccessful attempts to restore their rights in the court. Nevertheless, the Interior Minister was promoted to acknowledge problems at the grassroots level. The government aims to boost motivation in law enforcement with pay rises and additional benefits, such as preferential pensions. Yet the authorities do not consider the MIA reform, which could reduce the workload, bureaucracy and crime detection plans. The Belarusian leadership is interested in the loyalty of law enforcement, however would not reform the existing system due to fears to lose control over it. Law enforcement has once again proved its importance to the authorities in February-March 2017, when it clamped down on the protest movement.
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.