Belarusian security forces attempt to restore confidence ratings and prevent reshuffles
Interior Minister Ihar Shunevich in the "Close-up" TV programme commented on the deadly accident, which happened through the fault of a drunken Baranovichi traffic police chief. The minister attempted to play down multiple reports of abuse by the law enforcement, to politicise the conflict between society and the police and to emphasise his role in preserving the socio-political stability in Belarus. Amid dwindling state resources and stepped-up competition for budgetary support, media reports about violations in the law enforcement system have multiplied. Minister Shunevich is frequently confronted with the information pressure from the media on the law enforcement agencies. That said, retaining high confidence of the population in the law enforcement system and other public institutions is crucial for the Belarusian authorities.
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.