Minsk streets are about to become desolated, not only small crowded.
Labour experience of my mother-in-law is 64 years. It is enough for two lives, but she still works. I have recently asked about her pension. I was to naive to think that her pension could be doubled for such a long labour experience. Do working pensioners pursue an itch for gain?
No way. My mother-in-law does not know her real pension, because this generous state underpays - the state withholds some part of it, because she keeps working. Given the data of the Ministry of Labour and Social Protection, every fourth pensioner in Belarus still works. Officials have a weight amount to save and it is spent on benefits and bonuses for their perfect activity.
The other day our relatives arrived - they are also pensioners, they live in Israel. They were distrustfully listening to the story, as if they were watching the Russian TV. They politely wondered if I had something misunderstood or mixed up. They believed that the pension was constant. If a person has reached the retirement age, the persion is ensured. And it's your own business whether to keep working or to relax, the state should not interfere.
My relatives left for Israel 28 years ago (1990). It was an ordinary Soviet family - an engineer and a teacher. They became an ordinary Israel family. They worked much and hard (after wore than 25 year of work in the USSR). It was hard for the first time. They were hired workers all the time. Now they are ordinary Traveling Israel pensioners. They explain that they also have social pensions.
But they also have a contributory pension scheme - deductions to the insurance fund. If a person has faced the pension trap for some reason in Belarus and failed with the required pension insurance record, the only option is $40-social pension after 60 years old. The situation differes in their small state with great problems. Your working activity ensures a work pension, a social one is paid because of citizenship. Every normal state has duties to its citizens. One of the key objectives is to ensure a decent standard of life on pension.
My relatives flied business class. you know, they want some comfort at their age. For a moment I imagined them ordinary Belarusian pensioners - an engineer and a teacher. I imagined a Belarusian retired teacher buying business class and saying "well, I want to have comfortable flight because of my age and some health problems". I may only fantasize for a moment, because the reality brings me back to reality wondering "do you remember the country you live in?". No, thanks, I remember. It cannot be forgotten. I'm sorry for fantasizing.
By the way, it's better not to fantasize at all. The Ministry of Labour states that last year 3600 Belarusians were caught in the pension trap - they lacked the pension insurance record and were up in the air: they reached the retirement age, but the social pension was not ensured. The European statistics shows that last year 50 thousand Belarusians received resident permits in the EU countries. What's the connection? A clear one. We have one Belarusian failed with the pension against 14 people who left abroad. And it's only about those left for Europe. If we enlist America, Israel, Ukraine, Russia and other country, the number may reach 50 people or even 100 people. Do not doubt these figures.
These people have escapes this state lying on velvet pillows, which believes that people owe to it. It is ready to lie, cheat to keep away its citizens from a decent life. And those people who left cannot be attracted by a business class. But Minsk streets are about to become desolated, not only small crowded. Because there will be no person to throw away a candy wrapper on the streets.
Iryna Khalip, especially for Charter97.org