Quango Belaya Rus offers a pre-election deal
On March 22, in a meeting of the Presidium of the quango Belaya Rus [White Russia], Chairman Mr. Radkov said that during the parliamentary elections in the autumn the organization would support “like-minded” candidates along with candidates affiliated with the organization.
The upcoming election campaign will try the mobilization capacity of Belaya Rus. Mr. Radkov said, the organization intended have an extended impact on the campaign: including appointment of its members to electoral commissions, establishment of election headquarters and agitation.
Such plans are feasible: Belaya Rus has 128 219 members, including senior officials, for instance, Mr. Radkov (Deputy Head of the Presidential Administration), Mr. Guminsky (Vice-Speaker of the Parliament), as well as directors of enterprises and government agencies, where the voting takes place.
Statement of Mr. Radzkou suggests that the scale of participation of Belaya Rus in the campaign will depend on a clear signal from President Lukashenko regarding the most important issue for the organization, namely, its transformation into a political party. That is why during the meeting of the Presidium Mr. Radkov announced the creation of a working group, headed by Mr. Guminsky, which will address the issue of transformation.
For information, all previous attempts of the leadership of Belaya Rus to lobby the issue of transformation were unsuccessful: Lukashenko is not interested in changing the political and particularly electoral system of Belarus.
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.