Back in USSR: Penalties for ‘social parasitism’ may be re-introduced in Belarus

There should not be any idlers in the country, President Aliaksandr Lukashenka stated at the government conference held on October, 20 to discuss employment and migration matters.

The Belarusian leader has backed the Interior Ministry’s proposal to amend the Administrative Offense Code in order to introduce responsibility, including forced job placement, for citizens, who have no registered jobs.

“If you are willing to re-introduce the term ‘social parasitism’, go ahead. It will be more understandable for the people. We shouldn’t waste anything good that was created in the Soviet times, including the terms,” state-owned news agency BelTA quotes Lukashenka as saying. “You have to use any means that we have and know how to apply to make these people work! Measures must be taken by January, 1 to make everyone work!”

In the Soviet Union every adult ablebodied person was expected to work until official retirement. Those who refused to work or study faced a criminal charge with social parasitism. The so-called ‘law on parasites’ adopted in 1961 opened the door to abuse: thrown out of their jobs for anti-Sovietism dissidents (eg famous poet Joseph Brodsky) were subsequently subjected to banishment.

According to Lukashenka, about 500,000 Belarusians are not involved in the economic activity.

“Let us assume that 100,000 are home-makers and people working on their household plots. And what do the remaining 400,000 do? Who pays for them?” the President wonders. “Let us change this welfare mentality. 400,000 people should be involved in the work. There should not be any idlers in the country!” 

Temporarily staying in Russia and other countries, a significant number of Belarusians earns and sends money to their families in Belarus. Remote working for foreign employees is also in favour among our fellow citizens. But the National Statistical Committee has never provided any official data on the amount of Belarusian seasonal migrants or freelance workers.

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