"Belaya Rus" will not become party of power soon
On May 18th, 64-year-old Alexander Radkov was released of his duties as Presidential Aide for health reasons. On December 20th, 2014 Radkov was demoted from the first deputy of the Presidential Administration to the Assistant to the President. Radkov still heads "Belaya Rus" quango, which unites public officials and claims to be the "party of power." "Belaya Rus" plays a significant role in organising and holding election campaigns, it dominates in the election commissions. "Belaya Rus" role in the election process and its possible ‘dialogue’ with the authorities as representing civil society may also prompt the president to replace Radkov as the head of “Belaya Rus”. However, the new head is unlikely to out-weight Radkov.
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.