Belarusian opposition is attempting to resolve internal conflicts before 2016 parliamentary elections
Most Belarusian opposition organisations have created a standing council of Belarusian democratic institutions. The creation of a common negotiation platform to coordinate opposition activity has not yet affected the plans of ex-political prisoner Statkevich and his colleagues to hold the Congress of Democratic Forces in mid-May. Yet another attempt to put together one more ‘single list of candidates’ for participating in the parliamentary election campaign in 2016, is likely to raise tension between the two opposition camps. Due to the lack of institutional and human capacity, the Congress initiators and the structured opposition are likely to engage in a row over regional leaders and oppositional activists. The said common negotiating platform aims to remove tension between the oppositional leaders, but so far does not envisage deeper cooperation among them.
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.