Who are real parasites in Belarus?
Belarusians living in the Czech Republic shared their impressions of contacts with officials and relevant commissions, as well as how they tried to justify themselves, with Radio Svaboda. Here are excerpts from their stories, which speak volumes about the government and performance of the decree on "parasites".
"The commission refused to answer questions and referred to people waiting in the corridor."
- My objective was to be removed from the database, though I do not own any real estate in Belarus. I do want my name to appear in the database. In general, I found out that I was in it through the site. I got the key to the system.
When I went to the executive committee, I managed to get directly to the commission. The first thing that stunned me was the number of members of the commission - there were 18 of them. Its members were sitting all round and the chair of a "parasite" was in the middle.
At first, I tried to ask general questions about documents, but the commission refused to answer and referred to lots of people waiting in the corridor.
I showed them a translation license as a court interpreter in the Czech Republic. Then, when I asked whether I was removed of the database after I showed them documents, I was told that I would be removed from the list of property owners who were subject to higher utility bills. But I remain in the database. Therefore, in about 30 days I plan to submit a request to explain reasons why my name is still in the database. The commission did not answer it and told me not to worry, but this approach and answer is not satisfactory.
"An official was outraged that I called decree No. 3 the decree on parasites."
- I was sent to office 419 in my district administration. It works twice a week, and there I had to ask whether I was a parasite or not. They said "There are no parasites, they do not exist". The woman there deals with economics of our district, it was written on her door-plate. She was outraged that I call Decree No. 3 the decree on parasites. She checked my passport and proved that I was in the database.
I was not told whether I was removed from the list. I just submitted a translation of the confirmation that I studied at the university, as well as an application to be removed from the list. And that's all.
"When I asked why I was added to the database if I wasn't an owner, no answer was given."
- They didn't answer what specific documents were required. They just said I had to provide the contract. I don't want to show my contract and to translate it. I think it's absurd. I signed the contract a few years ago, and at the moment it does not show whether I work for this company now or not. As a result, we agreed that I would translate only the certificate of work, but I was not given any specific requirements for the translation. They say a seal is needed.
It should be done personally, with a passport. I do not think that people living abroad have such an opportunity: to come and spend a week or two in Minsk, finding out whether they are in the database, and what needs to be done to cross their name off it.
When I wondered why I was enlisted in the database, if I was not the owner of housing in Belarus, the question left unanswered. I find it absurd to issue the decree, according to which people who don't fall under it are added to the database.
"Members of the commission I visited said they were not authorized to explain the decree."
- Some are required to decipher all seals on the document. In my case, when I was at the meeting, they were interested in at least some round, stamped seal on the document, which is essentially nonsense, because the only seal there was the seal of a translator. But translator does NOT guarantee that the document is original. This seal means that the translation conforms to the original.
Members of the commission I visited said they were not authorized to explain the decree. Of course, I wonder how the executive bodies perform their duties if they are not able to explain legislative acts they rely on!
"The official said "What if you come and use services in Belarus?"
- In fact, I was very indignant when they said that the decree currently applied only to those who owned housing. Why do they include other people? The official said "What if you come and use services in Belarus? What if you want to get your teeth treated in a Belarusian polyclinic while you live in the Czech Republic, or to take some tests or to use some other services that you haven't paid for over several years.
Actually, that's outrageous. We, as citizens living abroad, work and pay taxes abroad, but when we come to Belarus, we spend money here and help our parents.
-Do you study in Poland? - No, in the Czech Republic. -Well, then you should get married there!"
- The website (with the database) turned out to be unclickable. I ask for help: - I filled in everything, entered the key. I still cannot understand how it works. I cannot check whether I am a parasite or not. They say: - How can we do it? We have no Internet. We only give keys.
Then I was sent to office 419, among other things I wondered why there was no form in Belarusian? They say: - Both languages are equally well known in our country. But if you want, you can translate it. Again, the Belarusian language is somewhere there. And the last thing is the most enchanting, funny and stupid. -Do you study in Poland? - No, in the Czech Republic. -Well, then you should get married there! A Belarusian official advises me to stay abroad. It's just some kind of oxymoron.