Society becomes more persistent in advocating interests of Belarusian language education in schools
Parents of children attending Minsk gymnasium No 4 have been protesting against the Russification. The previous director of the gymnasium was dismissed due to anti-corruption charges against him by the KGB. The Belarusian-language gymnasium is attended by children of some cultural figures who support oppositional views. Most likely, the controversy and discussions in the independent media about the events in the gymnasium and the growing tension in the Belarusian-language school would affect the administration’s position and it would accept parent’s proposals. It should be noted that the president gently supported those advocating for the expansion of the use of the Belarusian language, albeit simultaneously he tried not to alienate the Russian-speaking population.
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.