30 January 2023, Monday, 20:34
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Compensation in Lukashenka’s Style. 10,000 Soviet Rubles Cost less than USD 10

Compensation in Lukashenka’s Style. 10,000 Soviet Rubles Cost less than USD 10

In 1994 one of the main issues in Alyaksandr Lukashenka’s election agenda was “compensation of the population’s lost deposits of money according to the currency exchange rate of ruble to dollar in 1985” (that is, one US dollar for one Soviet ruble). And notably, Lukashenka promised to give back money partially in TV sets and refrigerators. In 1998, when he was a president already, he issued a special decree in line with which compensation was to be paid by January 1, 2008. And now, after 14 years of his “promising” rule, Belarusians who hadn’t been given TV sets or refrigerators, are being invited to Belarusbank. They are given back their deposits. But the exchange rate is amazing! 500 Soviet rubles are compensated by… 999 Belarusian. Just for comparison, metro ticket costs 600 Belarusian rubles… Isn’t it a mockery?

The experience of post-Soviet countries suggests that lost deposits can be returned in the way the person is satisfied and the state doesn’t deplete pocket.

For instance, in the neighbouring Lithuania not only land has been returned to its real owners, but deposits have been returned in proportion 1 to 4. It means USD 2,500 was given for 10,000 Soviet rubles. The exchange rate of one Soviet ruble for one LTL was chosen. Now one dollar costs 2.35 Lithuanian litas.

“In the end of the 1980ies ruble/dollar ratio was about 1 to 4. That is why it is completely logical to set this rate. Economists’ calculations of that time are that the real correlation of labor productivity was 1 to 4 as well. The National Bank of Lithuania fulfilled obligations to return deposits. And it is an element of a rule-of-law state, and not simply a promise of some politicians,” a well-known economist Leanid Zaika told in an interview to the Charter’97 press-center.

We have the situation quite the opposite. Having promised mountings, Lukashenka give Belarusians just a dab of money. Recently the news-paper “Express-Novosti” said: the children of the “palatka” member Mikalai Dubovik tried to go to Belarusbank and receive back their lost deposits.

“My children have been uninvited to a bank recently, - “deputy” Mikalai Dubovik complained on the last plenary sitting. – We were five children in the family, we all have own children. Before an operation father made a deposit for all of his grandchildren – 1000 or 500 rubles. My younger sister bought a trailer at 500 rubles. As it has been found out, she did the cleverest thing. My second sister (younger, too) bought a big ring. At 500 rubles. But my children, if they come to a bank tomorrow, will receive 999 rubles. We can’t turn the youth against the government by such actions. Let’s stop it, if it’s possible. I, for instance, won’t let my children go to bank”.

Dubovik didn’t say how to “stop it”. Probably, he meant not to give the deposits at all. Because one can became brutal when he or she will know the sum of such “compensation”. Or burst into tears because of humiliation.

They suggest us less than 10 dollars instead of 10.000 soviet rubles, which was enough to buy built a flat. One was putting aside money for a flat – but can buy just half kilogram of good sausage.

Such compensation…

Can you imagine how much money wasn’t received? Tens of millions dollars… What it was spent on? On ice hockey stadiums, support of half-ruined kolkhozes (collective farms) and enterprises, different kinds of fests of kolkhoz level, on radiant slabs on Nezalezhnasti Square?

But how many fridges and TV sets could have been given back to Belarusians?

But if one doesn’t need so many fridges, there is another way to pay: “It’s possible to pay, it’s not a problem. They can give the money back by state property or land. Give 15-20 billions of state property is simple. Everyone would agree to receive 2 hectares of land or a storey in a new block of flats for those 10 thousands rubles. They have softened the issue. This is the last act of stealing. It is disrespect to the own country, own people”, Leanid Zaika thinks.