MP Elena Anisim seeks civil society support to put pressure on authorities
Last week, MP and first Deputy Chairman of the Belarusian Language Society Elena Anisim held a meeting with voters in a regional train. Elena Anisim kept a certain distance from the controversial opposition initiatives hoping to cooperate with the authorities on a constructive agenda to promote the Belarusian language. However, apparently, Anisim faced with inertia in the government and could not find allies among officials, who also kept a distance from the ‘oppositional’ parliamentarian. Since couloirs talks led to zero results, she prompted public pressure, inter alia through the Belarusian Popular Front and the Belarusian Language Society to promote the Belarusian language agenda. Elena Anisim is likely to seek closer cooperation with civil society and the opposition with mild criticism of the Belarusian leadership in order to support her initiatives with public pressure.
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.