The so-called social parasites will now not pay the tax, but those who have already paid it will be reimbursed. But the unemployed will actually become citizens of the second category. They will fully pay for free or subsidized public services.
From the very beginning, the goal of the decree was obvious – “to make those who should and who can work”.
True, the Constitution of Belarus prohibits forced labor and guarantees only the right to work. Nevertheless, the message of the head of the country seemed quite transparent until the recent interview of the Minister of Labor and Social Protection Iryna Kastsevich.
“We will not force anyone, this is primarily the choice of the person. Ruble will be used to help stimulate Belarusians’ choice,” the minister said.
The decree currently looks extremely vague.
The non-transparent document opens up very wide opportunities for interpretation — who is now to be considered a social parasite?
“Every other household can fall in this category in the next two years due to unemployment and, in general, the decree is aimed at those who do not work. They can be housewives, the disables, the sick, young professionals who can not find a job,” warns Aleh Volchak from ‘Legal Aid to the Population’.
The new categories of the population will be followed by special commissions made of members of the local executive committees. They will be able to determine who deserves to receive free and subsidized services, and who does not.
Officials from local executive committees will also have access to a special base in which data on economic employment will be collected without the consent of citizens — the decree does not even attempt to explain how to understand this term. And the commissions will have the right to send an unemployed person to a medical and labor dispensary without a court decision. But, as they say, with great power comes a great responsibility.
Experts are sure that the division of Belarusians into categories will not so much stimulate labor employment as it will rekindle social protests, because of which, it may be necessary to look for the next reiteration of this decree.
Usevalad Shlykau, Belsat, photo: Vasily Fedosenko / Reuters / Forum