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Leanid Sudalenka: What 'Parasite Commissions' To Consider

Leanid Sudalenka: What 'Parasite Commissions' To Consider
Leanid Sudalenka

Why the authorities recalled the unpopular decree.

Belarus will be seeking "parasites" in 2024. Regions are drawing up lists of "parasite" commissions for next year.

Why do the authorities continue to use this unpopular tool? Charter97.org spoke to human rights activist, "parasites' lawyer" Leanid Sudalenka, who in 2017 actively defended Belarusians who fell under Decree No. 3.

- First of all, let's remember that in 2017 we went to the marches of angry Belarusians in protest. The actions took place in all major cities of Belarus.

By the way, it was in Homel that we held the first trial against the "Parasite Commission". At that time they wanted to tax up to half a million Belarusians who were "not employed in the economy". But in the end the authorities gave them back, having decided to tax those "deadbeats" who owned flats only through increased utility charges. Then, let us not forget, there was a protest by Marya Tarasenka, who was charged "housing subsidies" at increased rates.

I would like to emphasise that our position was and is the only one: even if a person is not employed in the economy, does not work for hire, then indirectly every Belarusian who buys a loaf of bread in a shop pays VAT. As for the "parasite commissions", what will they take into account? What are they up to this time?

- Recently, the authorities have resorted to confiscating the property of those who have left the country. Is there a risk that the use of this instrument will be extended?

- Yes, there is such a possibility. For example, I own land in an agricultural settlement near Homel. I've already received a notice that my land plot was confiscated as part of a new criminal case opened on 1 November.

What has my land got to do with the "crime" of which the Lukashists suspect me? Of course, I have asked the District Investigative Committee, which is conducting the case against me, to send me an e-mail with a decision on the basis of which my land has been confiscated. It has been a month and I have not received a reply. They are silent.

This confiscation means nothing to me. I have been using my land and will continue to do so.

They think that all this shows that the authorities are afraid of those who have left. I am reminded of the world-famous French philosopher Saint-Simon, who said that if 50 of the best doctors, 50 of the best scientists, 50 of the best teachers were taken away from a nation, it would be thrown back 100 years.

And so it is in modern Belarus - the best have left, the best are in prison. The authorities are aware of this and are doing everything they can to harm us in some way. It's hard to say how long it will last. But we know that change will come. Not tomorrow, but after tomorrow. We should bring this day of change closer with our efforts and actions.

Now, unfortunately, Belarus is slipping back into the worst days of Soviet communist totalitarianism. Look where Lukashenka flies. He is travelling around African countries looking for 'partners'. Is this what Belarus needs?

I'm in favour of moving our country in the right direction as soon as possible.

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