7 December 2019, Saturday, 16:53
The Wait Is Nearly Over

Homel Writer: I’ve Worked Since I Was 18, Now I’m ‘Parasite’

Homel Writer: I’ve Worked Since I Was 18, Now I’m ‘Parasite’

Even people of pre-retirement age are affected by Decree No. 1.

Many have heard the story of the Homel housewife Maria Tarasenka, who is the fifth person who has managed to challenge the decision of the state since the beginning of the year.

Charter97.org presents the story of another Homel woman, writer Nika Rakitsina, who is included in the "parasite" list, but has decided to fight an illegal decree:

- I started working when I was 18 years old, had breaks only to write my dissertation and raise children. I worked at school, in the palace of creativity. In fact, if the retirement age had not been raised, I would have been retired.

In 2009, after I was awarded the Eurocon Prize for the best fantastic debut work, I quit my job and started writing books. Of course, I am not Lev Tolstoy, but my books are published in Homel. Now my new book will be published soon. The print run is not big, but this is the reality of Belarusian writers, you won't earn much.

I've never been a member of any writers' unions, I've done everything by myself, I've just been doing what I like.

Recently, I have received a notice from the so-called "Tuney Commission". By April 30, I have to provide documents and prove that I am a working man. The absurdity of the situation is that even under the new rules, I can apply for a pension in June. Imagine, only three months left.

– Do you own an apartment?

- Yes, I own the apartment where we live with my daughter and son. My relatives are walking under the "sword of Damocles" since the very adoption of the decree. If I do not provide documents from work, I will have to pay in full for utilities.

Now we have enough money to pay for utilities, buy food; we buy clothes in a second hand. We have couple of days for vacation. We simply don't have money for more.

- How much will you have to pay under the “parasite” tariff rate?

- I don't know. I talk to people who have already received utility bills and I can imagine how much I'll have to pay. I will not be able to pay. In simple terms, it means hunger. I have no rich relatives who have money and ties. All my life I have been working honestly, I have not taken anything else. Everyone doesn't care that I'm a writer, I'm unemployed for the Belarusian authorities.

- What are you going to do?

- I no money for lawyers, so I decided to follow the example of Maria Tarasenka and address the REP Trade Union. I see no point in going to the parasite commission meeting.

The logic of the authorities is not clear to me. It's not possible to take something away from poor people. People stay without money. The situation with work is very poor in Homel. Yes, one can find something if one wants, but for a woman of the pre-retirement age it is simply impossible. Who wants to hire me?

Besides, I am against slave and forced labour, I like to write books. Why should I do anything else?

- Protests caused the abolition of the first version of the decree. In your opinion, what is the fate of the new version of the decree?

- It will depend on reaction of people. But I have nowhere to go. I will fight. At school I was taught that slave labour is the least productive.

– The authorities cannot realize it.

– It’s time for them to listen to ordinary people. And I will help them to do it.