Minsk anticipates to lower sensitivity threshold of Western capitals to repression in Belarus
At a meeting with Rapporteur on Belarus of the Political Affairs Committee of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) Andrea Rigoni, President Lukashenka talked about the need to continue the dialogue with European institutions. Minsk suggested that the EU lowered demand in respect for human rights and democracy in Belarus and limited to moderate criticism. Simultaneously, the authorities have changed tactics in relations with Western capitals; they recognized some problems in the human rights field and talked about their readiness to improve the situation with democracy gradually. Minsk reiterated the issue of the moratorium (or abolition) on the death penalty to cover up tighter repressions and to soften criticism from European officials. Most likely, the Belarusian authorities hope to continue improving the Belarusian-European relations by making medium-term concessions on the death penalty, e.g. not issuing death sentences or not carrying out executions within the next year. In addition, Minsk reckons that the EU would reduce its sensitivity to human rights violations by inertia due to the ongoing dialogue with the Belarusian leadership, the geopolitical factor and the role of Minsk in deterring the Kremlin’s aggressive foreign policy, as well as by stretching the application of severe repressive practices in time.
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.