By Ryhor Astapenia
Earlier this month, the newly appointed Orthodox Metropolitan Pavel arrived in Minsk. The Metropolitan has no Belarusian passport or roots, does not speak Belarusian and visited Belarus only twice in his life before appointment.
The new Metropolitan owes his position to the hierarchy of the Russian Orthodox Church in Moscow, rather than to Belarusians, majority of whom consider themself Orthodox Christians.
Russia has been building up it its long-term lobby in Belarus for some time. Many people from the bureaucracy have close ties with their Russian counterparts. After leaving government service, senior officials often find new jobs in Russian companies.
The Kremlin seems reluctant to build its representation amongst the opposition, as Russia`s authorities find them to be inane. However, rumours that Russian businessmen can finance democrats in Belarus remain frequent.
The Kremlin already clear economic and energy leverage over Belarus. Today's Russian lobby is an embryo that can become an influential political force in Belarus, which will serve the Kremlin.