Campaign against 'exit tax' for cross-border shoppers kicks off in Belarus


Last Friday, Belarus leader Aliaksandr Lukashenka said that Belarusians would be charged '$100 a nose' before proceeding across the border on shopping excursions to neighboring countries, primarily Poland and Lithuania, which offer cheaper goods and foodstuffs. On September 11, Belarusian Deputy Prime Minister Piotr Prakapovich confirmed it was not a joke and that the duty could be eventually introduced in one month.

Commenting to Euroradio on this government plan, the leader of Go .... Yourself civic campaign Anatol Lyabedzka said:

"This is our initial immediate reaction to the political schizophrenia [from president Lukashenka] proposing to introduce a $100 tax for those crossing the Belarus borders.... We need to do it as quickly as possible before this political schizophrenia transforms into some kind of illegal law."

According to Mr Lyabedzka, one of the campaign's goals is to create a negative public attitude to the proposal. In terms of conrete steps to be taken, the ''tools and mechanisms" are being discussed. The United Civil Party leaders will gather a news conference on Thursday at NOON in Minsk.

Mr Lyabedzka does not rule out that other political forces would join his party's campaign, but "there was no time yet to hold consultations."