7 July 2022, Thursday, 5:32
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The Last Of The Housing And Utility Sector

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The Last Of The Housing And Utility Sector
IRYNA KHALIP

Petty fraud is the backbone of any collective farm authority.

I have been wondering why the regime keeps sending mothers of many children behind bars with such insistence. Yesterday, for example, Volha Tomina, a mother of three children, was sentenced. Before that, they put in jail Volha Zalatar, who has five children, Tatsiana Kaneuskaya, who has four, and Hanna Sunhurava and Alena Maushuk, who have three children each. The bloodthirstiness of the State cannot be that bad, can it? It looks like it is not even bloodthirstiness. There is simply no money for the housing and utility sector. And this means that the benefit holders must be sent rather far off. Preferably, behind bars. And for those who manage to escape, to present him with the bill anyway.

The Belarusians are now so busy with survival, that they do not have time to keep track of the bureaucratic news. However, even if they weren't so busy, they wouldn't waste their lives reading the official telegram channels of the ministries and departments. I recently flipped through the Ministry of Health's channel, and they are just having fun there. First, having the "best in profession" contest for nurses, then reporting in the society column about Kachanava's visit to an Republican Scientific Research Center, or reporting about an excursion of orphanage children to a pharmacy (of course - where else to take an orphanage child but to a pharmacy, - let him get used to it in advance). The channel provides zero useful information. But it's a very cheerful picture: officials in the hall and dancing nurses at the stage. So, it is small surprise that the Belarusians have learnt about the government decree No. 166 of March, 25 only now, when it is time to pay for April public utilities. In a decent country, the citizens would not only have been warned about the "surprise" in advance, but hotlines would have been opened, and detailed explanations and answers to questions would have been published everywhere possible - not only in the departmental telegram-channels. However, it seems that I have started thinking like a Belarusian official - in a decent country, there can be no such regulations in principle.

Now, it turns out that all officially unemployed Belarusians who leave Belarus for more than 30 days will have to pay the full cost of utilities. Earlier, those who were studying or working abroad were exempt from the overpayments - they had to submit documents, employment contracts, and salary references (what an intolerable humiliation for any citizen of the civilized world - but we're used to walking round dozens of offices and proving that we're not a burden to the state). Now every student, worker or seasonal berry-picker will have to pay the maximum. Are you, bastard, making money overseas? We'll give you sweet memories of your homeland.

It doesn't matter if you're a student studying in Europe, delivering pizzas in the evenings for pocket money, or a desperate unemployed guy who goes to lay bricks and live in a hostel to help his family, or a mother picking strawberries and leaving her children to grandma because at the end of the summer she has to buy them stuff for school. If you have found money for a trip to a faraway land, it means that the state has not robbed you of the last of it, so you go snicks. If you don't want to share, you'll pay anyway, we'll add it all to the utility bill. And the state protozoaires do not understand that a Belarusian who has earned money abroad will either come back and spend it here, supplementing the budget, or will send it back to his or her relatives. Every dollar, euro or zloty earned abroad will be repaid here many times over, if you treat citizens humanely. If you're unemployed - get a discount on utility bills. You find an opportunity to earn money abroad - fine, we'll freeze your utility bill until you come back. But you have to think, work hard, lose a quick kopeck for the sake of future rubles. No, the protozoaires are not able to think two steps ahead. So, a Belarusian working abroad, looking at the bestial attitude to himself, his family, his possessions, will think: why, I am not going back at all.

The State Border Committee got a contract to "inform" on the people who have left. Although they do not report about their return, and the officials have a hope that the quiet intelligent citizen will simply take the increased price of "communal services" for granted and continue paying the tariffs. Petty fraud is the backbone of the collective farm authorities. They have not been taught otherwise.

Except that they have forgotten that for a year now, you cannot fly anywhere from Belarus, and there are not many places you can drive to out of here. A lot of people cross the border to Russia or just get out along wolf tracks, without sending goodbye letters to the Border Guards Committee. So a huge stratum of the working-age population remains off the record. Consequently, many thousands of rubles stay in distant milk and honey countries in various currencies. I can suggest a way out: please build a border with Russia.

It will bring profit to the budget and give us all some peace of mind.

Iryna Khalip, specially for Charter97.org