Prior to his visit to Moscow, President Lukashenko drummed up support of metropolitan

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April 22, 2016 18:50

At a meeting with Metropolitan Pavel of Minsk and Slutsk, Patriarchal Exarch of All Belarus, President Lukashenko said that he supported the Orthodox Church’s active participation in public affairs. The meeting took place ahead of Lukashenko’s telephone conversation with Russian President Vladimir Putin and his visit to Moscow. Prior to his appointment in December 2013, Metropolitan Pavel served as Archbishop of Ryazan and Kasimov (Russia). His appointment has affected the independence of the Orthodox Church in Belarus from Russia and provoked a negative reaction in Belarusian society and among Orthodox clergy, who wanted to see a Belarusian national in this position. President Lukashenko allegedly met with Metropolitan Pavlov to enlist his support ahead of talks in Moscow.

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Image: "Новы Час"

During searches of social and "green" activists and anarchists, law enforcement has seized computers, mobile phones and publications. The authorities have also exerted additional pressure on supporters of unauthorized street protests and independent lawyers, who represented defendants in the White Legion case. The security services have stepped up the persecution of opponents before the street protests announced by the opposition. Apparently, the Belarusian authorities aspire that participants in street protests would reduce in number and that the low interest of the population to socio-political agenda before the local election campaign would retain.

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