BNF and BSDP(H) undergo changes
The Congress of the Belarusian Popular Front (BPF) party will be held on September 30th, which should elect a new chairman. Its current leader, Alexi Yanukevich cannot be nominated for the third time, according to the party Charter. Changes in the BPF leadership are unlikely to change the current configuration in the opposition, and the BPF will remain outside the coalitions. Similarly, the departure of more than 100 activists from the Belarusian Social Democratic Party (Hramada) is unlikely to affect relations in the democratic camp, albeit it would strengthen Tell the Truth, the centre-right coalition and the Belarusian National Congress. Each political centre is likely to preserve its agenda.
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.