"Tell the Truth!" is most prepared for 2016 parliamentary election campaign
Last week, ‘Tell the Truth!’ Republican Research and Educational Association was founded in Minsk, led by ex-presidential candidate Tatsiana Karatkevich and HQ headed by Andrei Dmitriev. ‘Tell the Truth’ is the first opposition structure to state that it has a vision of its activities until the 2020 presidential elections. After the 2015 presidential campaign, Tatsiana Karatkevich has become an opposition politician with the highest rating and having the potential to attract new population groups to the democratic camp – those who sympathize the idea of a ‘peaceful change’, but do not support ‘conventional’ opposition. ‘Tell the Truth’ is focusing on work with new supporters and does not engage in internal conflicts within the opposition camp; in addition, they were the first to initiate formation of an open list of candidates for the parliamentary elections. However, as the 2016 parliamentary elections draw closer, tension over lists of candidates between ‘Tell the Truth!’ and other opposition organizations may increase. Tatsiana Karatkevich is likely to remain the most popular opposition politician until the 2016 parliamentary campaign kicks off, which creates additional opportunities to build the widest possible list of candidates for the parliament.
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.