With his back to the wall from crackdown on opposition charges, Belarusian dictator decided to change approach.
This story started last summer. Right after the blast during celebration of the Day of Lukashenka’s Independence from the Belarusian nation, our number one “independence supporter” of the country announced that the blast had been orchestrated by his enemies. A wave of searches in headquarters of democratic organisations and arrests of oppositional activists rolled across the country. The whole world started speaking about mass repressions against the opposition in Belarus. As long as implication of oppositionists in this wild crime hasn’t been confirmed, while the plan of a dialogue with the West for defrauding loans should have been implemented, Lukashenka decided to change the form of repressions. All-out nature of the crackdown on dissenters should have been maintained, though Europe shouldn’t call this campaign political repressions.
Speaking in the key ideology programmes of the country, Lukashenka stated that “oppositionists are whining that they are allegedly persecuted, that is why I order: form now on to leave all of them alone”, adding: “It’s hard to imagine for you how prosperously they are living, having no job. They have luxurious houses, cars and other riches”. He also said, addressing citizens: “We shall show their houses on TV soon, all of you will be amazed”.
The order “to leave opposition alone” has been understood right. Right a day later thousands of members of oppositional parties, human rights activists, independent journalists and other democrats received writs to appear in the State Control Committee and tax inspections.
I received a writ from the State Control Committee of Minsk, too. I was demanded to file an income tax return for years 2007-2008 within 5 days. And I have done that. In early September 2008 I received a new writ with a demand to arrive to tax inspection of Minsk, where the senior state tax inspector Nila Varlyha explained to me that on instructions from the State Control Committee she should study out whether my revenues and expenditures match. “You own cars,” she started in a mild and subtle manner. “I do not own them, I owned them, but long ago, in the middle of the 1990ies,” I answered. “Ok, I owned cars. And with what money have you bought them?” the tax inspector asked. Then I gave a 8-page written explanation about occupying certain positions in certain firms, about my salaries, and attached a copy of my labour book.
I was left alone for a few months, and after the New Yaer a district police officer called me and said that the city tax inspection is waiting for me. Nila Varalyha whom I already knew, gave me a new stack of papers. I was to explain why in 1994, 1995, 2005, 2006 and 2007 my expenditures exceeded revenues, according to tax inspection.
I know that I am tiring readers with the details a bit, but I think that a detailed narration of my case can explain the new character of crackdown on oppositionists and dissenters in Belarus. I offer to take a look at some documents.
A cursory examination of these documents made me ask a question to the tax inspector: “Why are you taking part in the campaign of political pressure, Nila Pyatrouna? Four months ago I meticulously enumerated my sources of income over a few years. Why didn’t you want to consider my legal salary as revenues? Why my car sold for a sum of 3 thousand dollars in Belarusian rubles equivalent, is considered as an income of 34,500 today’s Belarusian rubles by you? Why are you simply having problems with mathematics?” The tax inspector answered with her eyes bent on the ground: “You must understand, Zmitser, that wasn’t me alone who opened this case”.
The tax inspection failed to fulfill Lukashenka’s order and discover a luxurious house belonging to me. After half a year of searches I am accused of having my expenditures exceeding revenues by 8,000 Belarusian rubles.
Having ignored all data contained in my written explanations and in my labour book, I was also accused that in 1995 my expense exceeded my income by 0.00357 thousand Belarusian rubles, but it is an anecdote. See it yourself.
Officers of the state inspection senior inspector N.P. Varlyha and department head M.M. Babko show their inability to perform simple arithmetic operations. According to them, if expenses were 0.00357 thousand Belarusian rubles, and income was 34.5 thousands rubles, expenses exceeded income by 0.00357 thousand Belarusian rubles. So, inspectors state that 0.00357 is more than 34.5. But one can do everything when fulfilling a political order.
What concerns 2005, 2006, and 2007, I am accused of paying my telephone bills, but they didn’t want to count my legal income for many years of work, they didn’t count real income of 3,000 dollars from car selling.
Belarus has faced a serious crisis. The total foreign debt of the country amounts to 18 billion dollars. The country is a world’s leader in corruption. Thievery and squandering of people’s property has reached unseen rates. Hundreds of luxurious villas, owned by governmental officials and court businessmen, are being built in Drazdy district. With a motion of the hand, deposits of individuals are reduced by a billion dollars. Under these conditions, thousands and thousands of financial policemen, district militiamen, tax inspectors, and KGB officers are participating in a long-term campaign of looking for mythic treasure of the opposition. But the State Control Committee should know: the opposition has no access to state funds.
Non-governmental organizations, independent newspapers, regional departments of political parties are shut down at first, and then governmental officials ask: why are you still alive?
But the Belarusian opposition is alive, and Belarus is alive, too. No one is able break us. The time is coming when real criminals will answer for their machinations and crimes.