Liberal Democratic Party leader Sergei Gaidukevich may become senator
At the last week’s press conference, Central Election Commission head Lidia Yermoshina said that the chairman of the Liberal Democratic Party Sergei Gaidukevich was nominated for the Council of the Republic, the upper chamber of the Belarusian parliament. Usually, elections to the upper chamber of the Belarusian parliament are kept low-profile and held without the competition - there is no information about all nominees. Most likely, the initial scenario implied that Gaidukevich’s son Oleg, also from the LDPB, could become a deputy in the lower parliament’s chamber, since there were no other candidates in his constituency. However, the authorities’ plans have changed in the last moment and they have put Belarusian ambassador in Austria Valery Voronetsky as a candidate in that constituency, thereby reducing Oleg Gaidukevich’s chances to win a seat in the parliament to a minimum. If Sergei Gaidukevich from LDPB, three-time presidential candidate, becomes the member of the upper chamber, this may be presented to the voters and western observers as ‘the opposition’ in the parliament.
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.