“Doctors’ case” will complicate Belarusian experts’ participation in international exchange programs
The Belarus’ General Prosecutor’s Office carries out large-scale inspection of leading medical care staff on corruption suspicions, Narodnaya Volya newspaper reports.
The pressure on the Belarusian doctors will complicate the development of international expert dialogue and exchange programmes in Belarus. Simultaneously, the Belarusian security forces demonstrate a high interest in international cooperation issues.
The newspaper reports, that since early 2013 more than 150 medical healthcare experts, including eminent physicians, were summoned to the prosecutor’s office. The investigation is based on the European Anti-Monopoly Committee’s inquiry materials and refers to the facts of malicious cooperation between state healthcare employees and foreign pharmaceutical companies in public procurement.
In particular, the prosecutor’s office is interested in Belarusian medical specialists’ participation in international seminars and conferences organized with the support of major pharmaceutical corporations. The information about launched criminal cases has not yet been disclosed and the General Prosecutor’s Office refused to comment on the inspection.
On the one hand, whether criminal cases are launched or not, the ongoing inspection will objectively reduce the opportunities for development of international exchange programmes for specialists and government officials in Belarus. In particular, professional exchange programmes making a part of the Eastern Partnership Programme and the “European Dialogue on modernization with Belarusian civil society” and affecting energy, public administration, privatization, and other spheres.
On the other hand, the Prosecutor General’s Office checks, based on the European Anti-Monopoly Committee’s materials, confirm the Belarusian law enforcement agencies’ interest in international cooperation. In particular, On May 20th-24th Minsk hosted a meeting of the Eurasian Group on Combating Money Laundering and Financing of Terrorism, and the international association of financial intelligence services ‘Egmont’.
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.