16 June 2021, Wednesday, 16:43
Sim Sim, Charter 97!

‘There Were No Such Harsh Remarks About The Authorities From Ordinary People In 20 Years’

‘There Were No Such Harsh Remarks About The Authorities From Ordinary People In 20 Years’

The social protest in Belarus will only escalate further on.

Legal inspector of the Trade Union of Radio-Electronic Industry Workers in Homel Region Leanid Sudalenka has stated this to Radio Liberty:

- When the people discuss the reasons why the most active protest against the “social parasites” decree occurred in Homel, they refer to, among the other things, the great work done by the REP trade union there. How and with what did you help the people, who were affected by this decree, how did you work with them?

- Our trade union started the action in support of the people, affected by the decree, in the beginning of the year. We organized collection of signatures for the abolishment of this decree in our office. Also, I, as a legal inspector of the trade union, was engaged in legal consulting and compiling corresponding complaints to the tax inspectorates.

About 5 thousand people came to our office for the month and a half of the decree’s existence. Apart from that, we collected signatures for the abolishment of the decree at the website with electronic petitions – about 25 thousand, and collected about 200 individual complaints to the tax inspectorates.

- Do the people who come to your office have a quite narrow mission – to get rid of the necessity to pay this tax? Or are they ready to express their discontent with the social policy in a broader format?

- At the background of the economic situation in the country, when people lose their jobs, their labour contracts do not get renewed, the salaries dropped – the decree has become the last straw. Speaking about motivation, the decree demands to get money out of one’s pocket and give it away. Different people came to us. There were those who wanted to join the trade union, some just wanted to avoid payment of the tax, and nothing else interested them. However, one thing I can say for sure – having spent 20 years in the opposition environment, I’ve never heard so many harsh remarks about the authorities from the ordinary people. The people say the decree was the last straw.

- Why was it Homel which impressed with the massive scale of the protest actions? Maybe you have some extremely complicated economic situation?

- I wouldn’t say that Homel has some overcomplicated situation compared with the rest of the country. The fact that more people came out to protest in Homel I personally explain as the result of the direct work conducted by our trade union and other democratic organizations. We were very active in the social networks. This is the result of the collective work.

- Just recently, the court in Homel resolved to release “social parasite” Aliaksandr Siamionau from payment of the tax. How important is this precedent and what does it show?

- We wanted the court to find this presidential decree anti-constitutional. We wanted it to find Mr. Siamionau a person who did participate in the financing of the state expenses. The court started consideration of the case and we all know the result – this case, as well as all the other “social parasites” cases, will not be in the jurisdiction of courts further on.

The authorities made certain concessions by employing Siamionau and releasing him from paying the tax. However, 420 thousand “social parasites”, who decided not to pay the tax, are standing behind our backs. Will the authorities be able to employ them all and release from the tax?

Only 50 thousand people paid the tax. How to subject all the rest to administrative responsibility? How to seize money from all of them? If the Decree is not cancelled, the government will continue sending out the “letters of happiness” in autumn. Thus, the social protest will escalate and the authorities know this.