Belarusian authorities respond to unauthorized protest activity of opposition with financial persecution
Participants of the unauthorized opposition action at the KGB building in Minsk to commemorate victims of political repressions were punished with heavy fines. Apparently, the authorities have changed their approach to dealing with unauthorized protest activity of the opposition in the capital and regions. The security services no longer apply harsh repressive measures or detain members of the opposition for organizing unauthorized rallies, they only file administrative protocols against the organizers and most active participants. Later, courts issue heavy fines (the largest possible) on those charges. For instance, last month, in Minsk alone opposition leaders and activists paid over BYR 83 million (USD 4 700) to the state budget in fines. The authorities are attempting to drain the opposition financially in order to reduce their protest activity.
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.