President Alexander Lukashenko guarantees the preservation of the status quo in terms of the distribution of public funds to the nomenclature
President Alexander Lukashenko signed the Law ‘On the Fight against Corruption’ and the government adopted an action plan to implement President’s directive No. 2 on the de-bureaucratisation of the state apparatus and improving the quality of life of the population. While the election campaign is being launched, the head of the state is trying to secure the populist image of the ‘people’s president’ in public space: the president who conducts anti-corruption struggle against the bureaucratic apparatus; rhetoric which was often repeated during the first half of his rule. However, at the same time, President Alexander Lukashenko signed the Law of the Republic of Belarus ‘On Amendments and Additions to the Law of the Republic of Belarus ‘On Handling the Complaints of Citizens and Legal Entities’. This law introduces additional barriers, including repressive ones, for citizens in regards to their engagement with the bureaucratic apparatus and reduces the public’s ability to influence decisions taken by the officials. As a result, Belarusian society is still incapable of influencing the formation of state policy and exercising control over the distribution of public funds.
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.