Lukashenka is moving towards monarchism?
On October 2nd, Lukashenka held a "Prayer for Belarus". During the event, to his right Lukashenka had representatives of major denominations: Metropolitan Paul, Metropolitan of Minsk-Mogilev Archdiocese of the Roman Catholic Church in Belarus, Archbishop Tadeusz Kandrusievich, Chairman of the Muslim Religious Association in Belarus, Mufti Abu-Bekir Shabanovich and Chairman of the Jewish Religious Association of Belarus Grigory Khaytovych (no representatives of the Protestant Church). To his left, Lukashenka had his three sons - either as a family, but without mothers, or as successors. The basic symbolism of the event and the main topics of speeches was gratitude to the gods for peace in Belarus and requests of peace from the plenipotentiary representatives of the higher forces on the earth.
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.