28 April 2015, Tuesday, 6:48

Alyaksandr Yarashuk: Authorities increase tensions between social strata

The authorities have found “a pipe in the mouth”.

Lukashenka has an idea how to help families with many children – he believes that it’s high time in raise the income duty rate from 12% to 13%. The chairman of the Belarusian Congress of the Democratic Trade Unions (BCDTU) Alyaksandr Yarashuk does not agree to this position. He has explained to the editorial office of charter97.org website that by seizing money from one people and giving them to others is not to improve the demographic situation, but in addition is to promote increase of tensions between different strata of the society, and as a consequence, even greater social distance between Belarusians.

- No one would raise objections against improvement of the demographic situation in our country due to birth rate increase. But it seems to me that a rather “peculiar” way has been found for that. I would call that “a smoking pipe has been found in the mouth” (to find the obvious). In reality, it is a task of the state, not of citizens. And to shift the burden to the shoulders of citizens is at least dishonest. If you need to encourage birth rate growth and need to find $10,000 for the third child, you should stop your venturesome practice of these crazy meaningless expenses like palaces of sports, which are causing huge losses to the territories they had been built on. One should stop holding these vanity fairs needed by no one – “The Slavic Bazaar”, “Dazhynki”. And then there would be enough money for the fourth and fifth child, not only for the third one.

- People could be displeased by the increase of the income tax, and they will be right…

- Yes, from my point of view, it is an attempt of the ruling regime to impose an “obrok”, to lay under tribute of 13% instead of 12%, looks cynical. It cannot do anything but spark anger and form a negative attitude towards future parents. It is certainly a good intention, but you know which path is paved with good intentions. It is exactly the case.

- How could these measures be mitigated, in order to avoid people’s resentment?

- In this case, it is ridiculous to describe that as an objective of the entire nation. If it could be the citizens’ initiative, and they could state their willingness to sacrifice their well-being, one per cent of the income tax, it would be logical. But as long as we do not have a real civil society, could there be an initiative of the nation? We know perfectly well about the circumstances of citizens and their level of income. They are not impressive, at least against the background of the prices for essential goods, as the prices are higher not only than the prices in Lithuania and Poland, but in Germany as well! $600 per month is not the level of income which could be considered sufficient.

- Where the money should be looked for, to your mind?

- The country has such a huge burden of ineffective expenses that we should look in a completely different place. These sports facilities are absolutely unnecessary. Excessive wastefulness and pomp in holding events is unnecessary. Besides, law-enforcing agencies are overmanned greatly, and here the sources of funds should be looked for to solve the problem of birth rate, and the working people of the country should not be burdened once again.

- Recently we talked to a mother of many children, and she said exactly the same: she does not want state employees and small businessmen, sole traders, to be robbed for the sake of payments to her children.

- Your example vividly shows that the nation is wiser than its rulers. They foresee consequences. If it where some voluntary donations, a free-will decision of the civil society, it would be another story. But the state is not interested in development of the civil society, on the contrary, it is interested in its atomization, creation of a situation when everyone defends one’s own interests.

The state is making the difficult existence of its citizens even more difficult, inciting their justified discontent and triggering noticeable tensions between different social strata.

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