Lukashenko continues chairing meetings of the “security top brass” club
On February 28, President Lukashenko held a meeting on the state border policy and border security of the Republic of Belarus in 2012. Along with the leadership of the State Border Committee, the meeting was attended by representatives from all law enforcement agencies.
Mr. Lukashenko resumed regular meetings with the security forces officials, started in spring 2011, which implies there is a conflict in the highest circles of power. The first meeting of the “security top brass” club was held after the explosion in the Minsk metro on April 11. After that, the President held meetings with the leadership of the MIA, the KGB, the Prosecutor General, the State Border Committee and other law enforcement agencies twice a month and discussed, inter alia, non-core issues with them: export regulations and labor discipline.
On February 14, the board meeting of the KGB with the President was also attended by the top brass of all law enforcement agencies.
Frequent meetings of the President with the security forces reveal the president’s desire to form one single elite “support team” and as an attempt to overcome traditional interagency conflicts within the law enforcement bodies of Belarus that threaten presidential power.
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.