Authorities probe Belarusians’ readiness to pay for country’s stability
At a meeting on employment and migration issues in Belarus, President Lukashenko supported the Internal Affairs Ministry’s idea to introduce a “tax on parasitism”.
It is worth noting that the Belarusian officials have repeatedly made controversial proposals that would pick citizens’ pockets, including the “tax on the officially unemployed”. Amid the crisis in Ukraine, the Belarusian leadership is probing Belarusians’ readiness to pay a hefty price for stability in their country. However, in most cases, the authorities have not fully implemented their initiatives aiming to increase the tax burden on the population by introducing taxes that do not cause an open outrage. On the one hand, some initiatives may be blocked by President Lukashenko, in case of serious perturbations and growth of protest activity. On the other hand, in the face of shrinking government revenues, the Belarusian authorities may implement some tax innovations, ones that will be less painful for the ratings.
During searches of social and "green" activists and anarchists, law enforcement has seized computers, mobile phones and publications. The authorities have also exerted additional pressure on supporters of unauthorized street protests and independent lawyers, who represented defendants in the White Legion case. The security services have stepped up the persecution of opponents before the street protests announced by the opposition. Apparently, the Belarusian authorities aspire that participants in street protests would reduce in number and that the low interest of the population to socio-political agenda before the local election campaign would retain.