Regional nomenclature stiffer competition amid dwindling resources of state
In October, the Mogilev Regional Court will begin hearings of a resonant criminal case, in which former officials – deputy chairman and first deputy chairman of the Gomel Regional Executive Committee – among the defendants. Anti-corruption cases against managers of state enterprises and regional officials have become more frequent. Yet President Lukashenka has not made a public announcement about a new round of the anti-corruption campaign in the regions, despite of the ongoing election campaign. Rather, amid shrinking state resources, regional nomenclature has commenced the fight for spheres of influence, hence, the upsurge in anti-corruption cases.
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.