Belarusian authorities tighten grip on opposition during World Hockey Championships
In preparation for the World Hockey Championships scheduled to take place in Minsk on May 9th - 25th, 2014, new hotels and sport facilities have been built, and visa requirements have been lifted for international fans.
The Championship is an important image-making and political event for President Lukashenko who aims to improve the outer world’s perception of the Belarusian authorities, and boost his own ratings inside the country. The Belarusian authorities count on people’s diplomacy and on impressing foreigners with Minsk’s cleanliness and order, and good event organisation. Meanwhile, the authorities have no plans to relax their grip on the opposition, and continue to ignore EU and US demands. Ahead of the presidential ‘troika’ Summit, Belarusian security forces have detained a few opposition activists. Some will be held in custody until the Championship is over.
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.