The reason to write this blog post was the authorities’ decision to collect an annual tax (200 USD) from unemployed people. Officially it is not a big rate of unemployment (around 1-2%) but the request to pay around half a million people received last months. It is around 5% of belarusian population and it is the most vulnerable people with or without a real job, or with salaries around 150-200 USD equivalent wage what is really not enough to meet all ends.
For many it was the last drop. They stepped to streets and expressed their social protests. This Friday and Sunday thousands people in 6 the biggest cities devoted for peaceful protest against “serfdom rights” imposed by our government. Protesters demand to terminate not only injustice and unlawful rules, but to change the top management likely the president and his functionaries.
In the authoritarian political regime, where mostly people suppressed by political police and unlawful justice, social problems tend to interconnect and create antagonistic contradictions between ordinary people and political elites which control production and distribution of the national wealth.
Many believe that our parliament is not elected by the people but formed by the president administration from loyal individuals. It takes place on all levels and creates gap between reality and voluntaristic policies of a small group.
In addition, an oppressive regime creates very bad conditions for real inclusive participation of people not only in traditional elections (president and parliament) but in more local points such as partaking in a law making on all levels. As a result many as young people as elderly do not have skills for collective decision-making and different public issues solutions.
Moreover, last decade multinationals seized a big chunk of the most profitable industries (It means supply chains as well as wood, retail, telecom, transport, content producing and distribution) and harnessed the capital flows, on the one hand. On the other hand, other industries (mostly state-based enterprises) are driven by unprofessional management, work inefficient and social unfriendly (relating governance and marketing).
But the question is not only economy and politics. Last 25 years belarusian culture and language were under a pressure. Officially we have two languages (belarusian and russian) but only the latter was promoted by authority. It deteriorated building of a national identity for many people in my country.
At the same time I can not deny the permanent military and economic threat from Russia, our eastern neighbour. The last years relations between our governments become more and more unstable and cold. In spite of an economic and political alliance last month Russia build a border with our country and deplete the capacity to trade.
All above-mentioned factors produce a very similar situation like it was in the Ukraine in 2013-2014. People do not believe own government with enormous influence of foreign capital and propaganda institutions.
Sure, the most do not want a war and violence, but the authority created this situation where many people have no mechanisms for peaceful solving a slew of issues inside my country.
Although I’m an optimist, this description looks very dark and sorrow. I do not want to dramatise everything but I strongly believe if we, as a society, have a problem we, the society, must to solve this one. No “powerful” state, no “smart” government but the people.
In my opinion, now it is time to be prepared for an examination of our citizenry. I think about my place in the big shift. I think that is not only my focus of thinking but hundreds people think in the direction to make this place better and share their talents.