Pavel Sheremet’s funeral has united counter-elite of three states
Counter elites of Belarus, Ukraine and Russia attended the funeral in Minsk and Kyiv of Belarusian and Russian journalist Pavel Sheremet, who was killed in Kyiv last week. Pavel Sheremet’s professional history reflects the situation with freedom of speech in the Slavic triangle, which he shared with his lesser-known colleagues, who have left Belarus in mid-2000s for Russia and for Ukraine in 2014. Regardless of the fact that Sheremet was one of the most prominent journalists in Belarus and in Russia, only the President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko expressed his condolences to his family.
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.