17 November 2019, Sunday, 6:43
Second Day

The Inconvenient Questions To Lukashenka

The Inconvenient Questions To Lukashenka
Kanstantsin Skuratovich

We won't follow the civilized world, right?

Lukashenka’s election program in 1994 was concise. It was called “Take the people away from the abyss”, to which they were driven by the previous government. However, he did not promise immediate improvement. On the contrary, the presidential candidate specifically emphasized: “I don’t promise you milk rivers and honeymoon. I do not want to lie ... There is a big and difficult job ahead that no one except us will do.”

And now, after a quarter of a century, everyone can admit: the work was difficult, and the Belarusians worked hard, but the expected abundance bypassed Belarus.

Such is the public opinion. As for the qualified assessment of the situation, Belstat’s data, which, by and large, do not diverge from the narrow-minded perception of the situation, remain its source. This coincidence of the official point of view with informal views is symptomatic.

Lukashenka, his government and the institutions they created have restored the former social structure that reproduces the former (Soviet) mass poverty of the majority of the population.

What, for example, does official statistics mean? According to the random household survey, in the first quarter of 2019, the share of the population with the average per capita disposable resources below the subsistence minimum budget (official poverty line) was 5.3%. The subsistence minimum budget in January-March was BYN 221,5 per month. At the same time, 0.1% of the population, about 9.5 thousand people, can spend no more than USD 50 per month on themselves. This ios not even poverty, this is beggarhood. More than 500 thousand people can spend on themselves from USD 50 to 100 per month. Based on this figure, you can easily answer the questions that are addressed to the instance, including the higher instance, to the president himself. For example, pensioners often ask whether it is possible to live on a pension of BYN 400? Is it a full-fledged life, or survival?

What can we say to that? This is our real life. Or survival - on the edge of the abyss. After the May increase, the average size of pensions grew to BYN 405.1, which amounted to 37.8% of the average salary and 236.3% of the subsistence minimum budget for pensioners (171.4 rubles, given the prices of March 2019). That is, given the current realities, pensioners are poor, but they are much richer than those who live in poverty. Including many people employed in the economy, who have an average net salary that does not reach the average pensions, or even double them, which in the presence of children guarantees a situation of survival in poverty.

I would like to say to pensioners: do not anger God, soon it will definitely get worse. Everything you were promised was fulfilled. And no one promised that it will be easy.

Kanstantsin Skuratovich, "Our opinion"