25 March 2019, Monday, 1:13
A Challenge for Everyone
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Belarusian Salaries: The Story That Won't Be Shown on TV

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A true story told by a resident of Baranavichy.

We all know the joke "I want to live in Belarus, which is shown on BT TV channel". Indeed, propagandists of the state media are silent about stories of ordinary Belarusians. There is no place for miserable pensions, work for food, labor migration, which has become a Belarusian reality.

Anelya Kambalova, a resident of Baranavichy, told the Charter97.org website a story that will not be shown on BT TV channel.

- I had a good job in Baranavichy, I worked in a Minsk company that sells bearings. But then I received a fine for participation in the "People's Gathering" campaign in 2011. I was just told that politics and work were incompatible. I had to quit.

Since I was making good money, I didn't want to go to a worse job. At one time I had temporary jobs and cultural projects.

I started looking for a job. It turned out that it's hard to find a job at my age. That was a common reason for job refusal. I faced age discrimination.

Our salaries are low. Well, I'm not interested in working for $100. You pay all bills - and there is no money. These are the salaries in our country.

- What way out did you find?

- I've decided to go to Poland for six months and work there than work for a penny in Belarus. I'm also engaged in handicraft activities, I get a small income. But you know very well that today people pay more attention to essentials than to Belarusian souvenirs. Perhaps, if you do advertising, you can somehow live. But it is barely impossible in a small town.

- What is the difference between earnings in Poland and Belarus?

- It's just impossible to compare. In Poland, a person without education, without skills, an ordinary cleaner, earns not only for some household needs, but can afford, for example, a vacation at sea.

In our country $500 is considered a cherry on a pie, and in Poland unskilled workers get more. If a person works diligently, he or she is treated differently. This also influences earnings.

Despite the fact that I work abroad for 180 days, this money is enough to live in Belarus for the next six months. I have money even for presents for children.

Poland provides various opportunities for legalization of foreign workers. Everything not to make people feel like slaves of the system.

After all, low wages in our country are only one side of the coin. In Belarus, everybody is forced to subscribe to the state press, trying in to control discussions in every possible way. This is the style of our authorities. I was told when a man came to work with Narodnaya Volya and the management immediately burst with stupid questions: "What is it? What do you read?". It turns out that the Belarusian authorities are afraid even of newspapers. The state tries not only to get into pockets of Belarusians, but also into heads. To control thoughts and actions. You wrote when students were demanded passwords from their accounts on social networks. As a mother, I never asked passwords of my children. People should have their private space. It's just humiliating.

- What are the moods in the regions?

- One just needs to wait at a bus stop to hear what people think. A common citizen feels deceived and is very angry at the government. People do their best to survive: someone has their own kitchen garden, someone gets help from grandparents. Pensions are not a topic out of discussion. Today, only military and police officers have good pensions.

In December, the authorities reported on an average salary of $500. I want to say that I don't know a peson in Baranavichy who earns this money. Yes, there are individual entrepreneurs, but one won't get such money in the public sector.

Speaking of salaries, people get $150 in Baranavichy. And it is considered a good salary. Young specialists suffer great challenges. If experienced workers are paid a penny, young people cannot count on it.

A lot of people I know try their luck abroad. If earlier they went to work in Russia, today they choose the EU countries. Poland comes first. There are friends who go to work in Ukraine.

The authorities need to think over, as Belarus is turning into the country of pensioners. Young people are increasingly leaving the country. When people vote with their feet, it's alarming for our government.

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