By dismissing his assistant Rudy, Belarusian president weakened liberal positions in government
Former Assistant to the President Kirill Rudy was appointed as the Belarusian Ambassador to China. Belarusian analysts regarded Kirill Rudy as one of the main supporters of liberal reforms in the government, who was not afraid to lead a public debate on the need for market reforms in the country. In addition, strong positions of liberal reform supporters in the government created a favourable environment for the normalization of relations with Western capitals. However, Rudy’s approaches to economic transformations irritated the conservative camp of "strong economic managers" who, along with President Lukashenka aimed to preserve the existing economic model. Apparently, amid growing demand for change among the population, the top management decided to weaken reformists’ positions in the government in order to reduce political risks.
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.