New Business in Minsk: Line Place Holding

Economic problems in Belarus caused long lines in front of stores and currency exchange offices. Minsk entrepreneurs responded to the new market demand immediately by opening agencies which offer service of place holding in queues.

According to employees of the company, within first few days of their operation they had at least a dozen of clients. – People order place holding in lines to currency exchange, home appliances stores and car registration office. – commented an employee. Hiring an agent who will hold a line for you, is quite simple, you can set up the details – where and when – via phone or internet, and the agent will inform you about the line’s progress by sending a text message. The price is 10 to 17 thousand rubles per hour (2-4 doll). The price is higher at night. Agency is planning to rise prices for holding line to currency exchange offices, expecting growing demand for dollars and euros.

Tatiana Kolatsava, a Belarusian Human Resources Development expert, reminded that in the U.S. similar job has existed for a long time. Person called „tramitador“ keeps a place in line and takes care of paper work for migrants. Also in Poland, during communism, line place holding was a popular black market job.

Lack of products in stores is a result of ongoing ruble devaluation by more than 50 percent. Such move was necessary, as Belarus has been suffering from major foreign currency deficit for last few months. The National Bank stopped selling dollars and euros. The deficit caused lines of more than 200 people in front of the currency exchange offices. Fights erupted at times. As many had expected upcoming devaluation, people tried to invest rubles in long lasting goods. So far, the devaluation has not improved the situation. There are no currencies at the market and many goods are missing in the stores.


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