Sole traders are preparing for new protests.
On June 5, sole traders had preventives strikes in several towns across Belarus demanding to cancel Lukashenka's decree No. 222 that bans selling goods without certificates and supporting documents from July 1. The authorities made concessions by extending the period of selling the clothes stock imported in Belarus before July 1, 2014, without documents confirming that they comply with the technical regulations of the Customs Union until March 1, 2015.
What do sole traders think about it? What do they plan to do? A charter97.org correspondent talked to sole traders in several towns.
“We don't believe the authorities and said decisively that we wouldn't pay rent and taxes. Our plan is like this: We submit tax returns with zero income on June 30, we visit the city executive committee on July 1 and register at the employment centre on July 2. There are 1,500 traders at our market. So, let the authorities find jobs for them. We are ready to gather on Kastrychnitskaya Square in Minsk on July 7. But I think the authorities will make significant concessions by the beginning of July. We don't need their handouts. The authorities allowed selling the stock until March 1. So what? They will begin to stop us on the road and seize the goods,” activist from Baranavichy Mikalai Charnavus says.
Sole traders of Mahilou say they are ready to join the national strike.
“The decree on extending the selling period has not been signed. So, there's nothing to be discussed. Sole traders file tax returns with zero income and plan not to work in July as they cannot fulfil the requirements of decree No. 222. Anyway, the decree on stocks is not a panacea.
As for the strike, I can say that if Minsk starts it, Mahilou, as well as other regions, will join it. Working with the supporting documents, as they want us to work, is signing a death sentence to ourselves. There are no guarantees that the documents will have legal force. Moreover, I can say that 90% of documents issued in Moscow will be fake. It will be revealed during the first audit,” businessman from Mahilou Aliaksei assures.
Sole traders in Homel are confident the authorities want to eliminate them as a class.
“The situation is terrible. No one knows what to do. All are at a loss. The authorities are eliminating us as a class. Many are going to sell the remaining goods and close their business by July 1. Some are going to file tax returns with zero income.
I phoned Moscow to try to work under new rules. They said they wouldn't work with Belarus and hung up. They are not interested in us. They have their own certificates and easier rules. I am shocked,” sole trader from Homel Sviatlana says.