Sentence to Dmitry Dashkevich
Dmitry Dashkevich’s sentencing before he finished serving his prison term expands the authorities’ arsenal against political activists. Now, the release of political prisoners has become exceptionally arbitrary.
On August 28th, Dmitry Dashkevich, leader of a youth political organization “Young Front”, was sentenced to additional year in prison for “repeated violation of the prison rules”.
On March 24th, 2011 “Young Front” leader Dmirty Dashkevich was sentenced to two years in prison on malicious hooliganism charges. He was arrested on the eve of the last presidential elections, December 18, 2010.
Sentence to Dashkevich provoked deepening of the split in the democratic community regarding the boycott issue. Boycott supporters called upon democratic activists, who were registered as candidates, to join the boycott campaign.
High emotional tension around the boycott and political prisoners leaves the question of how the boycott could help releasing the political prisoners, open. The opposition is securely isolated from society, and the boycott campaign only adds to this isolation. Therefore the authorities have no reason to listen to the oppositions’ demands and only power pressure (or from external forces, or society), could motivate them to release political prisoners.
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.