Lukashenka deceives executive by taking liability off central government
While commenting on the latest appointments, especially heads of local executive committees, Lukashenka has sent mixed signals on the boundaries of responsibility and authority for local authorities. On the one hand, he shifts the liability for the loss-making enterprises on local executive authorities, on the other hand, he requires them to reduce production costs. On the one hand he is tough (eg high profile corruption cases), but on the other hand, he encourages initiative. Lukashenka is using such ‘carrot and sticks’ tactics in all policy directions, including the electoral process. Such a tactics in the long run is leading to a critical imbalance in the state apparatus, which already has not been implementing most of own decisions.
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.