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    Protesters in the Belarusian cities of Babruysk and Vorsha condemned a controversial government-backed unemployment tax on March 12. 

    Belarus, run by “Europe’s last dictatorr” Alexander Lukashenko, is one of the most repressive countries in the West. Protests, free speech and civil society are all tightly controlled; those who speak out can be beaten, jailed or even killed.

    So what happened in February was pretty remarkable. Thousands of people took to the streets in the capital, Minsk, and elsewhere to protest a tax on the unemployed. The “law against social parasites” requires people who work less than 183 days a year to pay the government $250 annually. (At the start of 2017, the average monthly salary was $380.) Officials estimate that there are about 470,000 such “parasites” in the country of 10 million.

    Even more shocking?

    The protesters won. (Though, they are still protesting.) On Thursday, Lukashenko announced that he won’t enforce the measure this year, though he’s not scrapping it. “We will not collect this money for 2016 from those who were meant to pay it,” he told the state news agency Belta. Those who have already paid will get a rebate if they get a job this year.

    The law, signed into effect in 2015, is reminiscent of Soviet-era crackdowns against the jobless, who undermined the state’s portrayal of a “workers’ paradise.” Homemakers and subsistence farmers are exempted, as are the “officially unemployed,” who must register at the country’s labor bureau and then perform community service for $10 a month. Those who refuse to pay face a fine and two weeks in jail.

    Now, because of Lukashenka’s desperation to find money for his regime given that Moscow is no longer supplying it and no one else is likely to, the Belarusian dictator has awakened the population from its lethargy. And as was the case in Ukraine four years ago, it is the people in the form of a nation rather than the opposition that is now in a position to make history.

    Slow to anger and cautious in accepting anyone from the outside of their local communities as a leader, the Belarusian people like the Ukrainians at the time of the Maidan are taking their fate into their own hands. One can only admire this genuine popular rising and hope it will quickly be successful against a brutal and increasingly out-of-touch dictator.





    He must had got such idea from Vucic




    Man with one foot came to protest. He can’t afford a prosthetic foot.  :'(

    Female protester: We don’t have enough money for medicine. Go to the pharmacy look at the prices for medicines. Do you know how many businesses, factories have been closed? We don’t have jobs here. They say people don’t want to work. Go around and look — all the factories are closed. Of course, there some who do not want to work, there are such people. But there are people who want to work and cannot find a job anywhere because all businesses have been shut down.

    [Crowd chants: “No to Decree No.3!” ]

    Male protester: What is this? Are we, the people, are we trash? How it can be? Give me a normal job, I’ll go to work. Please give me any work. I can even take a broom and clean the streets. Just give me a job.

    Reporter: Lukashenka wanted parliament to raise the average salary to $500…

    Male protester bursts out laughing.

    Man with no foot: A prosthesis first cost 6 million (pre-devaluation Belarusian rubles — around $315), then 10 million, then more — I can’t afford it.

    Reporter: But you came with one foot to protest. What are you trying to prove by doing this?

    Man with no foot: I just want to say that the pension is very small.

    [Crowd chants “NO to Decree No.3! Lukashenka, go away!!”]



    Meanwhile in USA…Time for another protest!

    The Republican health care plan is an absolute disaster. It is a disgrace. And by the way, it really has nothing to do with health care. It has everything to do with a massive shift of wealth from working people and middle-income people to the richest people in this country. ~ Senator Bernie Sanders



    @Karpivna Bernie is doing God’s work by taking the money of suckers and buying $170k sports cars with them. He’s working hard to fulfill scripture that says “a fool and his money are soon parted”.



    That is just crazy.  That makes me really angry to read such proposals from Government.



    Yup. Labor camps is a much better solution.



    We live in interesting times…



    The Outraged Belarusians’ March will take place on March 25 in Minsk.

    The Council of the Belarusian National Congress has come up with such statement today.

    We offer the full text of the statement below for your attention:

    “On February 17, the participants of the Outraged Belarusians’ March adopted the demands of the people to the ruling regime. They elected the people’s representatives, who sent the people’s demands to the head of the regime and declared their readiness to hold negotiations on fulfillment of the said demands.

    The March on February 17 has become the trigger for the mass popular protests in support of its demands throughout the country. However, the regime seems unwilling to take steps towards the people. It only temrorarily suspended the Decree #3. There have been no other steps which would ease the material state of the people.

    Also, the demand to hold real elections has been ignored by the regime. Instead of that, the repressions against the activists of the democratic opposition have started.

    Therefore, led by the will of the people sounded in Minsk on February 17, as well as at subsequent protests in all the big cities of Belarus, the Belarusian National Congress announces conducting of the Outraged Belarusians’ March-2 on March 25 in Minsk. The March starts at 2 p.m. at the Academy of Sciences.

    In order to ensure organized and peaceful conducting of the March, we task member of the Council of the BNC Mikalai Statkevich to handle it. He is also authorized to sound the plan of the March in public the day before the actual event.

    We are urging all citizens of the Republic of Belarus to participate in the March and express the will of the people to the absolutely impudent authorities.

    We suggest that the head of the ruling regime should complete the mission which he tasked his officials with and meet with the participants of the March personally.

    We invite foreign politicians, journalists and diplomats to take the advantage of the visa-free regime and come to the action.

    We are addressing to the residents of all big cities of Belarus. On March 26, do support the protest in the capital – come out to the central squares of your cities at 12.00 to get united at the Outraged Belarusians’ March.

    Belarusians, enough fear. Time to take responsibility for your country’s destiny.

    Power to the people!

    Long Live Belarus!



    Enjoy privatisation. 



    I’m curious where this will lead.



    If you are wondering who “Mikalai Statkevich” is, he is a Belarusian politician and presidential candidate at the 2010 election. Mikola Statkevich was born in Slutsk into a family of school teachers. He is a descendant of the Statkewicz noble family. He was imprisoned in 2011 as a result of his peaceful struggle for free and fair elections in Belarus. Prior to his arrest, Mr. Statkevich played an active role in Belarus’s pro-democracy political opposition. 

    At various times during his detention, Mr. Stratkevich’s communication with his family was restricted and he was threatened with new sanctions for violating prison rules. On January 12, 2012, a court sentenced Mr. Statkevich to even stricter confinement conditions, and he was subsequently transferred from penal colony No. 17 in Shklou to prison No. 4 in Mahilou for being a “malicious offender of prison rules”. In July 2012, he was also placed in a punishment cell for refusing to sign a confession. Mr. Stratkevich’s wife, Maryna Adamovich, attributed the tough measures against her husband to his refusal to apply for a pardon in protest of his innocence.

    Mr. Statkevich eventually received a pardon and was released from prison on August 22, 2015.

    @GaiusCoriolanus  I, too, am curious where these protests will lead. 



    Also interesting to note: March 25 is Freedom Day in Belarus. Wikipedia: Freedom Day (Belarusian: Дзень Волі) is an unofficial holiday in Belarus, which is celebrated on March 25 to commemorate the creation on that date in 1918 of the Belarusian People’s Republic (BPR).

    People and groups opposed to the current Belarusian government under Alexander Lukashenko celebrate the holiday. The government does not recognize it for the stated reason that the BPR was created by the Germans, who were occupying Belarus in 1918. Celebrations of the holiday are an annual occasion of demonstrations against the rule of Lukashenko.



    Lukashenka has lost the plot. He’s getting crazier and crazier.

    The government states people who don’t contribute through taxes while using social benefits and infrastructures that are maintained with taxpayers’ money should pay tax for unemployment. There are many groups that fall that exempted from such tax such as women with children until 7 years of age, certain artists and writers, sportsmen, students, people in military service,  people in difficult life situation. The government also says many work for cash while officially unemployed. Those should also pay tax for unemployed.

    The biggest problem is that unemployment, particularly in regional Belarus, is higher than government figures show. People would like to work but they cannot find work. So the largest demonstrations took place in regional Belarus with Minsk attracted little demonstrations so far.  What’s more disgusting is that people in government have family members who are not in workforce. They’d rather pay the tax than going to work. They can afford to pay tax for unemployed.

    After the demonstration the president put one year moratorium on this legislation. People are saying  they won’t demonstrating until the legislation is withdrawn completely.



    In some countries people require to do various social work for unemployment benefits. In Australia this is called work for the dole.

    In Belarus the government wants to tax people for not contributing. I can understand the government wanting to eliminate workers who are getting their pays in envelopes. That’s not the right solution. The government should improve the work of taxation office and the flow of finances through banking system.

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