The ‘People’s Referendum’ coalition shows positive growth dynamics of public confidence
Initiators of ‘People’s Referendum’ demonstrate the best growth dynamics of popular support not only among opposition but also pro-governmental structures. This is confirmed by the December poll by IISEPS whereby citizens are ready to most strongly support candidates of the ‘Tell the Truth’ civic campaign (9.9%) and the ‘For Freedom’ (6.7%) movement in elections to local councils.
The discussion of issues put forward by the referendum contributes to the consolidation of supporters of changes around the coalition and strengthening of the position of campaign’s initiators. At the same time one shall not expect a significant growth of citizen activism during local elections in March this year. Still, a candidate supported by the ‘People’s referendum’ coalition has the best chance to improve the electoral rating before the beginning of the presidential campaign.
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.