Parliamentarians start re-election campaign
Statement of Speaker of the Belarusian Parliament Andreychenko implies support to the Presidential Administration during the autumn Parliamentary election campaign. Given that the Belarusian Parliament has no real levers of influence on the economic policy, the statement of the Speaker has only a propaganda implication.
On 26 January while visiting the JSC Poultry Factory “Friendship”, Speaker of the Belarusian Parliament Vladimir Andreychenko said that by the end of the year incomes of Belarusians should reach the end of 2010 level.
There could be only one reason for making such populist statements, i.e. to indicate support to the Presidential Administration during the election campaign, which could guarantee the re-election to the new Parliament. Against the backdrop of the continuing crisis in the world and in Belarus, a 4-year parliamentary mandate becomes a very attractive employment contract. Within the political system of Belarus, status of an MP is associated with minimum liability and the Parliament per se has become a place where Belarusian nomenclature representatives finish their careers.
It is highly probable that Andreychenko’s colleagues in the Parliament will support the Speaker’s populist programme. The more so, some governors have already expressed their wish to take part in such “salary conspiracy”. On January 27, the governor of Mogilev region Mr. Rudnick said that by December 2012 the average wage in the region was expected to increase by 64% as compared with December 2011. Previously, similar plans to ensure an average wage of USD 500 by the end of 2012 have been voiced by Vitebsk region governor Alexander Kosinets.
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.