President uses anti-corruption persecution as staffing policy
Alexander Rimashevski served as Chairman of the Soligorsk District Executive Committee for 11 years. This was quite a long term in one position for an official in the executive vertical, which is being regularly reshuffled by the president. The President often uses horizontal staff reshuffles as a substitute for competitive elections, in order to prevent the formation of stable nomenclature clans. Meanwhile, recently, there was an increase in the reports on the anti-corruption persecution of the executives and businessmen close to the nomenclature. Apparently, amid lingering economic recession, the Belarusian leadership aims to renew officials in the power vertical for additional mobilisation of the state apparatus. By applying micromanagement in personnel policy, the president prevents nomenclature groups form forming sustainable, influential and closed alliances.
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.