In Belarus last weeks people took to the streets to fight the law against social parasitism – law that was signed by dictator Lukashenko in 2015, but started troubling population only at the beginning of the 2017. Thousands took to the streets in Minsk, Brest, Gomel and many other smaller cities all around the country, to show their discontent with the law and the current regime. The protests seems to have little influence from “official” opposition- instead of that people previously not involved in the politics are organizing together. In several places anarchist played quite a big role in the protests. Last week belarusian government started repressions against those on the streets – up until now over 48 people were detained and prosecuted for different violations.
Belarusian government started talking about social parasitism somewhere after 2010 elections. The idea was not new to the region – previously in soviet union people who were not officially employed were always under threat of prosecution. This time belarusian government was doing the same – Lukashenko wanted to punish those who are not working or working but not paying taxes.
Slowly step by step through several ministries the idea have crystallized – the law was written and presented to Lukashenko who eagerly signed it. Inside it was stated that every person who is not working for more than 6 months in a year have to pay a “tax” to the state to cover the “social” state – free public health care and education. The sum to pay for many people was quite big – around 180 euro per year, with an average salary somewhere between 200 to 300 euro per month depending on the region of the country.
This was done next to already existing humiliating quantity of 15 dollars per months for those officially registered at the unemployment center – money that you would only get after one day of work assigned by the unemployment agency.
Of course in 2015 there was already a certain level of discontent, but it never turned into real protests – the law promised to start working only in 2017, and a lot of people were expecting that the government would back off. Instead of that by the end of 2016, beginning of 2017, people began to receive something that got nicknamed “letters of happiness” where it was stated that due to their “financial inactivity” in 2015 they have to pay a tax to the state. And that was the moment when it stroke a lot of people – by the official state media around 450 000 people are affected by the law (with the working population around 5 000 000 people).
You could avoid paying the tax if you go to the governmental commission and explain yourself and your bad financial situation. This is one of the most humiliating procedures that belarusian people facing financial troubles has to go through.