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.
President Lukashenka continues to rotate staff and rejuvenate heads of departments and universities following new appointments in regional administrations. Apparently, new Information Minister Karliukevich could somewhat relax the state policy towards the independent media and introduce technological solutions for retaining control over Belarus’ information space. New rectors could strengthen the trend for soft Belarusization in the regions and tighten the disciplinary and ideological control over the student movement in the capital.
President Lukashenka has appointed new ministers of culture and information, the new rector of the Belarusian State University and heads of three universities, assistants in the Minsk and Vitebsk regions.
The new Information Minister Karliukevich is likely to avoid controversial initiatives similar to those former Minister Ananich was famous for, however, certainly within his capacities. Nevertheless, the appointment of Belarusian-speaking writer Karliukevich could be regarded as the state’s cautious attempt to relax environment in the media field and ensure the sovereignty of national media.
The Belarusian leadership has consolidated the trend for mild Belarusization by appointing a young historian and a ‘reasonable nationalist’, Duk as the rector at the Kuleshov State University in Mogilev. Meanwhile, while choosing the head of the Belarusian State University, the president apparently had in mind the strengthening of the ideological loyalty among the teaching staff and students at the main university in order to keep the youth movement at bay. Previously, Korol was the rector of the Kupala State University in Grodno, where he held purges among the disloyal teaching staff.
The trend for the renewal of mid-ranking executives and their rejuvenation has confirmed. The age of the Culture Minister and three new rectors varies from 39 to 44 years old.