Belarusian president attempts to shuffle off responsibility for economic failures on public officials
Before April 15th, the Belarusian Government should submit the Draft Socio-Economic Development Programme for 2016-2020 and propose the date to hold the 5th All Belarusian People’s Assembly to the president. Previously, the Assembly was held before the presidential campaigns in order to mobilise state apparatus and public officials. However, due to the failure to implement the decisions of the 4th Assembly and the lack of the vision of socio-economic development in the government, the authorities have abandoned the idea of holding the 5th Assembly before the 2015 presidential elections. Meanwhile, the president has to justify the socio-economic policy for the next five years and present a bailout plan to the population before the parliamentary elections. The Assembly participants and the Government are likely to be prompted to assume responsibility for the failure of the previous five-year development plan in order to reduce pressure on president’s rating.
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.