Minsk probes measures to combat hybrid war in Belarus
The Belarusian authorities have held command and staff exercises of the territorial forces and defence bodies of the Gomel region , and announced strengthening of the land border. Official Minsk probes measures to counter the penetration of illegal armed groups and resist hybrid military action in Belarus. It is noteworthy that the exercises are carried out in the southeast of Belarus at the Belarusian-Ukrainian border and close to the border with Russia. In order to pre-empt any accusations by the Kremlin media of ‘unfriendly’ nature of such exercises, the Belarusian Security Council announced on behalf of President Lukashenko, that military exercises were held to check the efficiency of the Belarusian-Ukrainian border protection. As presidential elections draw closer in Belarus, the authorities might strengthen national security measures and might take additional measures to counter possible destabilization of the socio-political situation.
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.