Belarusian authorities use decree on social parasitism to reduce workers' wage claims

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January 16, 2017 12:34

The Belarusian authorities have amended the controversial decree on social parasitism. The population is becoming more discontent as the authorities increase financial pressure and add new population groups to the list of those liable to pay the tax - according to the latest reports, the tax authorities have sent a tax notice to circa 400 000 people, or 9% of the employed in the economy (4.4 million people in H 12016). By amending the "decree on social parasitism", the Belarusian authorities have actually admitted its shortcomings and have yielded to the pressure from the society. Nevertheless, the authorities are unable to ensure that everyone gets a job and use the decree to reduce state employers’ claims for a pay rise. Meanwhile, the opposition has a chance to increase its popular support due to the rise of discontent in society with lower incomes amid increasing taxes and tariffs for government services.

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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.

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