22 November 2019, Friday, 4:08
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Census Cannot Count Everyone

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Census Cannot Count Everyone
Iryna Khalip

Let them address their questions to majors.

The last time I participated in the census 20 years ago. In 2009 I missed it because of a long business trip. This year I refuse to participate in it.

In 1999, there were 17 questions on the census list. В 2009 – 37. Now it is 49. Although, there should be only one question: "How do you manage to survive all these years?!" The sequence of punctuation marks is correct. But for some reason, they are interested in something completely different.

Well, I'm no longer involved. The state offers to answer questions about the "household". About square meters, water supply, heating, sewerage. They are serious about it. Meanwhile, majors have studied every square meter, including heating batteries and a toilet bowl. And then they lived here during my home arrest for three and a half months, steadily sh*tting all the square metres, and especially the sewage system. After duty calls, they discussed the square meters with majors who were sitting at the house of Uladzimit Niakliayeu. So let them ask the majors and they will gladly tell about my household and many other Belarusian households. I refuse to do it.

Or there are some other great questions such as "Do you plan to leave the Republic of Belarus?" What the hell do you ask them if no Belarusian can answer them? My husband Andrei Sannikov did not plan to leave Belarus at all. My friend Natallia Radzina did not plan to leave Belarus at all. My friend Dzmitry Bandarenka did not plan to leave Belarus at all. But they had to leave. How can they answer this question?

What can I answer if at any moment another policeman Kupchenia (he used to be the head of the Department of Supervision and Execution of the Department of Internal Affairs, now he has made a career and became the head of the Department of Law Enforcement) could shout to me again, as he did seven years ago: "We can only let you leave if you buy a one-way ticket!" By the way, Volha Zakharanka and Lyudmila Karpenka would have answered, "No, we don't plan to." But they had to. So this question is also for majors to answer, not Belarusians. Put it on a bucket list.

But the question "why don't you work at the place of residence?" cannot be answered in two words. The census list has no such opportunity. He offers only three options: "I have not found a job here", "found a job with a higher salary", "other reasons". It does not let us give a fair answer: I do not work in the place where I live, because all independent newspapers I used to work for were closed by this lousy authority. It just required one stroke of a pen, two warnings, three calls. Charter '97 was simply crushed down nine years ago, and it had no chance to survive. The last independent newspaper in Russia, Novaya Gazeta, would have been glad to open a full-fledged bureau in the place of residence, but it is prohibited to distribution in Belarus. So, alas, my editorial offices are located at a distance of 500-700 kilometers from the settlement I live in. But such an answer can't be put into any of the proposed options. They don't want to know true answers. They are worried about other things.

A large-scale database under the guise of fighting "parasitism" was not successful, and a complete and comprehensive collection of personal data was disguised as a census. That's why the number of questions increases amid the reduction of the content of their wallets. By the way, the census in the USA influences the distribution of 600 billion dollars from the federal budget and seats in the parliament. They have no more than a dozen questions on the census list.

I give my answer to all questions, starting from square meters to a source of incomes, plans to leave the homeland and quantity of saplings on my land plot. This answer is a short one: "It's none of your damn business". I offer everyone to answer this way.

Iryna Khalip, especially for Charter97.org