Belarusian president creates media vertical to replace cumbersome ideological apparatus
Presidential press secretary will coordinate activities of the state-run media and hold briefings. The president extended the capacity and the role of the presidential press service in an attempt to boost the efficiency of the information and ideological apparatus, which was long overdue according to him. The ‘Media Vertical’, led by the president’s spokesperson who oversees the republican state-run media, is designed to compensate for the shortcomings of the cumbersome ideological apparatus, which proved incapable of rapid and adequate response during information attacks from the Russian media. That said, President Lukashenka has abolished the post of Deputy Head of Presidential Administration for Ideology. The Belarusian authorities are likely to continue to review their approaches to ideological work and information policy in order to reduce costs and enhance efficiency in shaping public opinion.
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.