Amid Ukraine crisis, Minsk hopes to enhance pragmatic cooperation with Washington
Alexander Kasanof, director of the Office for Eastern Europe at the U.S. Department of State and Oleg Kravchenko, head of the American Directorate, discussed bilateral relations in Minsk.
Amid the crisis in Ukraine and the growing tensions between the Kremlin and the West, official Minsk is attempting to shape the agenda for negotiations with the US. It seeks to reduce the political conditions factor by talking about the need to strengthen the sovereignty and independence of post-Soviet countries, including Belarus. Official Minsk is committed to continuing the bilateral dialogue and enhancing pragmatic cooperation with Washington in humanitarian and economic activity, and to opening opportunities for financial assistance from international financial institutions. However, the Belarusian authorities have no plans to liberalise the political regime, meaning that the release of political prisoners, among other things, is off its agenda.
The Labour and the Tax Ministries are considering the possibility to include persons engaged in some economic activity without forming a legal entity in the social security system. When the decree No 337 comes into effect, the number of private entrepreneurs is likely to reduce due to the possibility of reducing the tax burden when switching to a tax payment as an individual. 95% of self-employed, including PE, pay insurance premiums on the basis of the minimum wage. The number of self-employed citizens is expected to increase, the number of insurance contributions to the pension system from PE will decrease, the number of citizens who will pay a fee to finance government spending will decrease by several tens. Self-employed citizens have the alternative not to pay social security fees and save resources for future pensions, which, given the gradual restriction by the state of pension requirements could be a more long-sighted option.