At the recent All-Belarusian People’s Congress Alyaksandr Lukashenka strongly criticized private businesses and threatened them with sanctions for supporting the protest.
Lukashenka said that by liberalizing business inspections, the authorities “created chaos in the country, especially in Minsk”.
“There were issues with the licensing of medical activity. And what have we got after liberalization? A man in uniform or a public servant is told: “You, ‘yabatka,’ get out of here. What should be my reaction to that? We will cut you out with hot iron for this! The same thing happened with the child of a journalist, who supports the current government,” he said.
According to Lukashenka, if they used to allow the creation of private businesses, as there were problems with employment, “now there are no problems with jobs: go work for MTZ and earn good money”.
“We need enterprising people, but they should work for the benefit of the state, not for destruction,” he stressed.
Lukashenka said that businesses, in addition to paying taxes to the state, must also invest “in the state, sports,”. “Equal conditions means the rich pay more, because they get rich at the expense of the poor”.
Lukashenka also promised to “bring all sorts of sole proprietors to senses”. They will have to pay 13% of income tax.
“I swear on my children: I’m ready to debate with everyone. We need a competition of ideas. But you have to understand: laws and procedures in business and production differ to those in politics. You can get beaten here for nothing,” he added.
Lukashenka once again ordered the businessmen to start “working for the state” because “you won’t get away, if you deviate from this line”.
Lukashenka also mentioned the cafes and restaurants, which “have closed in solidarity”.
“About 200 firms of the protesting businessmen closed in solidarity. And what are they? Rare? Just some retail points. How was I supposed to act? I warned the State Control Committee: if they closed, not a single one should open,” confessed Lukashenka.
He instructed not to spare them.