‘No’ to political reforms in Belarus ahead of presidential elections
The National Academy’s Sociology Institute director Kotliarov said that a sociological poll would be held in Belarus concerning the modernization of the political system.
Usually the Belarusian government raises the issue of reforming the power structure ahead of the election campaigns. In this way, it provides a vent in society and stirs up controversies among the president Lukashenko’s opponents. The statement about modernizing the political system also coincides with the resumption of Belarus’ Western-oriented foreign policy. Yet such rhetoric has never resulted in any noticeable transformations for the political system. President Lukashenko has no real intention to make any changes in the Belarus’ institutional design ahead of the 2015 presidential elections.
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.