Belarusian shadow government defined their strategy
On June 1, the Organising Committee of the National Revival Rada published a memorandum on their goals and aims of their activities. The members of Rada are several former officers of law enforcement agencies.
The initiative to establish a government in exile acquires more meaning and is becoming more organised. The project is launched under conditions when there is no political support inside and outside Belarus.
An important achievement in the process of creation of a shadow government was statutory meetings held in April-May 2012. According to Vladzimir Baradach, approximately thirty people took part in the meetings, mostly they were the Belarusian refugees who used to work in law enforcement agencies.
A next step was to prepare and publish a memorandum. The fact that the memorandum was introduced to general public without gaining support from influential politicians indicates that the initiators of the project set to lower ambitions.
Despite the negotiations with several opposition leaders and movements, none of the politicians has openly agreed to join the initiative. It therefore signals that the project lacks a “face” not only in terms of a recognisable political leader, but also “arms and legs” in terms of even minimal mobility of human resources.
The memorandum gives traditional evaluation of Belarusian reality: Lukashenko’s regime is illegitimate and needs to be changed; there is a need for economic reforms etc. Also, the authors of the document suggest challenging the legitimacy of the decisions taken by the Belarusian authorities and carry out re-privatization of Belarus’ assets in the interests of the Belarusian people.
The latter objective is quite relevant, especially with regard to an ongoing privatization in Belarus. For example, after Belarus had sold a 50% stake in Beltransgas to Gasprom in November 2011, it was repeatedly stated in the media that the transaction costs were reduced. It contradicts the rule of law; therefore the transaction can be revised. It is clear that to do so, Lukashenko’s regime should be significantly weaker, which is not yet the case.
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.