"For Freedom" movement avoided split and preserved party line
Yuri Hubarevich was elected to lead the For Freedom movement. Two candidates with equal political weight publicly competed to lead the movement - political analyst Ales Lahvinets and First Deputy Chairman Yury Hubarevich. Before the Congress, both candidates participated in the debates in the media. Some analysts warned about a possible split in the movement, which, however, did not materialise. Yury Hubarivich has de facto preserved his place as the leader of the movement, he will not change the main line of the organisation, envisaging cooperation with other centre-right organisations. In addition, he has become the most likely presidential candidate from the For Freedom in 2020. The election of the new leader of the "For Freedom" movement has confirmed a relatively high turnover among oppositional organisation leaders.
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.