Opposition in Belarusian regions is interested to participate in Statkevich’s Congress
Former political prisoner and former presidential candidate Nikolai Statkevich, together with representatives of the organizing committee of the Congress of Democratic Forces, which was scheduled for May 14th and 15th, is visiting Belarusian cities in order to discuss the Congress organisation with political activists and others. Unlike political parties’ leaders, regional activists are more loyal to the idea of united opposition with a single leader and are more willing to participate in the Congress. If the Congress takes place this spring, the majority of participants are likely to represent regions, especially small and medium-sized towns.
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.