State: 4 out of 15 Minskers are freeloaders!

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The freeloader tax is being discussed for real in Belarus. Euroradio asked Minsk passers-by why they were not at work.

“I am going to quit my job right now. I was a consultant in Svyaznoi. The wage was low – 3.5 millions. I did not like it although I spent a year there,” said 21-year-old Mikalai.

* Mikalai quit his job and has already found a new one. He was jobless for only a few hours.

The former consultant has found a new job with a higher wage. But his opinion about the freeloader tax is this:

“The law is stupid!”

Electrician Alyaksei is trying to warm up in the ground floor of the supermarket Central in this cold weather. He is off today. But he also dislikes the idea of the freeloader tax:

* Alyaksei has a firm position as regards the freeloader tax.

“My wife is on maternity leave now. Will she have to pay too? (Euroradio explained that women on maternity leave would not have to pay the tax but Alyaksei still insisted on his position) What if people have many children – somebody needs to bring them up! I think they should better make the homeless and alcoholics work.”

I met a tipsy man there and asked why he wasn’t at work. He started proving his innocence:

“Me? I am off today! It is none of your business! Sorry, ask someone else.”

Minsker Alyaksandr looks happy. We met him at the crossroads. Why isn’t he at work?

* Unemployed Alyaksandr asked to photo him in profile only.

“I am unemployed now!” he said and understood why we were asking – because of the freeloader tax!

“I do not remember that saying…  Laying one's own fault at somebody else's door. Let the state invent everything it can,” Alyaksandr said.

We met ex-engineer from Velcom Alyaksandr in October Square. He laughed when we asked him why he was not at work:

* Alyaksandr does not want to be photographed. I only took his picture when he was going away.

“I am lazy! The state lacks money and they want to rip people off in any possible way. They even impose taxes on car owners. They probably need to punish the unemployed somehow, but there should be other ways to do so,” the former engineer thinks. He is not looking for a job now because there is no need to do it– “everyone is satisfied, the wife and the kids”. What a happy man!

“I am off today, I work one day in, two days off,” Mikita, a metro security guard told me. I met him in Lenin Square.

*Mikita, metro security guard.

The freeloader tax is a good idea, Mikita thinks: “Maybe people will start looking for jobs and paying taxes which will be good for the economy.”

Euroradio: “Working in the metro, you can see how many people use it in the work time…”

Mikita: “Those are mostly students, working people use the metro in the mornings. You can easily guess where people work when you are at Kupalauskaya station. They work at the President’s Administration.”

Iryna is refusing to be photographed. She is a former teacher and is unemployed now. The girl says that she quit her job because she … got married!

“I do not work because I can afford it at the moment,” the girl said.

Thus, 4 out of 15 Euroradio’s pollees were unemployed.

According to the Ministry of Finance, the freeloader tax was not added to budget-2013. It is only being discussed now. There is no bill either:

“It is only a suggestion, it has not been added to the budget draft for 2014 and it is not in the project of amendments to the Tax Code either. This is only one of many suggestions.”