19 July 2019, Friday, 16:16
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“They Pay Salary With Food, But Cut Out Electricity And Gas For Failing To Pay For Communal Services”

ILLUSTRATIVE PHOTO: DW.DE

How do the residents of Shumilina district of Vitsebsk region live?

Every citizen of Belarus has the right to a decent life. But for some reason, he has no right to fight for a decent life – at least, in the view of the authorities. Residents of Shumilina district of Vitsebsk region appealed to Belsat, as the local officials refuse to help them.

A usual collective farm house in Vitsebsk region. Mold, rot ... a cat and the people who are forced to live in such conditions.

“It must be demolished. It’s falling apart. Here, look!”

The owners of the house are ready to correct the flaws themselves, since, as they say, the local authorities are not concerned at all about it. But where to get money for repairs?

“There’s nothing left! Here is the salary. And I owe eight more rubles. That's it,” – a local resident said.

The salary is paid to him with food, and for failing to pay for utility services... they turn off electricity and gas. The rusty water is next in turn. Uladzimir Staravoitau says that he moved to Shumilina district five years ago. And almost immediately became a bur in the throat for local authorities:

“If you start to complain, then they start to move. And they don't like it, of course! They said to me: we are watching you, if there are faults or you haven’t done something – a report – and get out of here.”

Pensioner Valiantsina Kozina, who came to Vialikiya Liazhni from Uzbekistan, also lives in a collective farm house. Before the retirement, she worked as a guard at the local school. She says, once they promised to help with the repair:

“Here the roof will soon fall on the head, if it flows like this. A hole will be made.”

The village council chairman has his own know-how, the local residents say: instead of helping to solve problems, he forbids to tell journalists about them. He says, the most talkative ones will be fired.

“If we talk about whether this is a single case or not, then, of course, it’s not. This is a system. The state system is aimed at putting a person down, but at the same time they say that he has all the rights,” – Valeryj Mesnikau, public inspector of the REP Trade Union, says.

However, the state cares about people in another way. For example, with the help of social services that come to such villages and ask: how can children live in such conditions?!