Belarusian authorities attempt to prevent politicisation of tax on ’parasites’
The Belarusian authorities seem willing to revise their unpopular and most controversial initiatives aiming to boost budgetary proceeds due to risks of growing political demands among the population during the parliamentary campaign. Apparently, the damage to the state’s reputation is likely to exceed the revenue from the tax on ‘parasites’. The authorities are likely to prevent those who are discontent with the decree on ‘parasites’ from becoming opposition supporters.
Last week, senator Mikhail Myasnikovich proposed to introduce a patent system for the self-employed in Belarus.
The decree on ‘parasites’ has only marginally achieved the stated objectives to withdraw workers from the shadow economy and to replenish the state budget. Apparently the authorities have been unable to elaborate efficient mechanisms to identify ‘parasites’ and to force them to pay the tax. While the authorities claimed 445000 potential ‘parasite’ tax payers, only 4000 people have voluntarily ‘admitted’ to parasitism.
Amid mass layoffs at large state enterprises, reduced living standard and pressure on private entrepreneurs, the voters’ reaction to the tax on the unemployed was ambiguous. The authorities are attempting to reduce the growing response to the opposition candidates’ campaign among the discontented citizens. Some opposition candidates efficiently use unpopular governmental initiatives in order to mobilise the potential protest groups. The opposition candidates are likely to gain more support among disgruntled citizens.
The Belarusian authorities are likely to revise their approaches to Belarus’ socio-economic development due to public outcry amplified by campaigns of opposition parliamentary candidates.
The Belarusian authorities regard the Catholic conference as yet another international event to promote Minsk as a global negotiating platform. Minsk’s proposal to organise a meeting between the Roman-Catholic Church and the Russian Orthodox Church is rather an image-making undertaking than a serious intention. However, the authorities could somewhat extend the opportunities for the Roman-Catholic Church in Belarus due to developing contacts with the Catholic world.
Minsk is attempting to lay out a mosaic from various international religious, political and sportive events to shape a positive image of Belarus for promoting the Helsinki 2.0 idea.
Belarus’ invitation to the head of the Holy See for a meeting with the Patriarch of the Russian Orthodox Church should be regarded as a continuation of her foreign policy efforts in shaping Minsk’s peacekeeping image and enhancing Belarus’ international weight. The Belarusian authorities are aware that their initiative is unlikely to find supporters among the leadership of the Russian Orthodox Church in Moscow. In Russia, isolationist sentiments prevail.
In addition, for domestic audiences, the authorities make up for the lack of tangible economic growth with demonstrations of growth in Minsk’s authority at international level through providing a platform for religious, sportive and other dialogues.