Repressions against political activists and the media in Belarus have resumed
Gleb Vajkul, a participant in the student march, has been expelled from the Belarusian State University on formal charges of failing one of the subjects. In addition, the Belarusian Association of Journalists has confirmed that a new wave of persecution of independent journalists working for foreign media without accreditation has started. That said, the student march had exclusively non-political demands. And pressure on independent media journalists was only registered in one region – Gomel region. Nevertheless, together with the increase in protest activity authorities may extend their repressions to the most active leaders of other protest groups, such as entrepreneurs. The harassment of independent media journalists may also be expanded to other regions if people’s discontent with the socio-economic policies continues to grow and takes active forms.
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.