The state is increasingly concerned with the patriotic education of the youth
At the seventh plenary session of the Voluntary Association for Assistance to Army, Air Force and Navy of CIS the interim Belarusian secretary of the Security Council Stanislau Zas’ underlined that during the last few years the feeling of patriotism in the Russian society has grown immensely. At the same time despite the attempts of the Belarusian authorities to promote “deep patriotism” as a state ideology the level of loyalty of the population to the state raises concerns – especially in the context of the conflict in the Ukraine and a deep split caused by it within the Belarusian society. However, Belarusian authorities attempt to adopt the rhetoric of their opponents on the value of independence and sovereignty. Despite that fact the authorities are still not ready to allow citizens to influence state policies more actively.
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.