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Lukashenko privatized charity

Sanctions are effective, resulting in a reduction of personal wealth within Lukashenko's organized criminal group. Consequently, Lukashenko has begun to target his own pocket businessmen taking resources from them. One such businessman, Nikolai Vorobey, has fallen out of favor. While the businessman himself may still be at liberty, his entourage has already been thoroughly taken care of. Due to the sanctions and decreased profits, Lukashenko's pocket-sized businessmen can no longer fulfill their obligations towards the dictator's various needs. The fate of individuals like Vorobey and Chizh is noteworthy, as they are not the first nor the last to face such circumstances.

However, it is important to note that Lukashenko's actions of robbing extend beyond just his oligarchs. The budget of the Republic of Belarus for 2024 is formed with a significant deficit of 4.7 billion rubles. Local budgets are also projected to be in deficit for the upcoming year, including the traditionally affluent budget of Minsk, the country's richest city. It is evident that the private assets of the population are also diminishing. In line with our previous warnings, Lukashenko intends to rob Belarusians once again by introducing amendments to the tax code of the Republic of Belarus.

Starting from the new year, the illegitimate authorities have increased the tax on first-time apartments. This measure applies to the initial apartment that individuals have painstakingly saved for, built, or privatized through inheritance. It is possible that some individuals still have mortgage loans to repay, and yet the state imposes taxes on them. The rationale and purpose of these taxes are of no concern to Lukashenko. Individuals are expected to open their pockets wider, as the usurper requires their hard-earned money.

Furthermore, there are additional changes to come. After paying for your apartment, you will now be required to pay for your car as well, as the tax on vehicles has also increased according to the revised tax code. For new cars less than three years old, the tax rate may increase significantly. If you are also an individual entrepreneur, be prepared for further financial burden. The rates of the single tax for domestic sole proprietors are set to increase next year. Taxes will also be raised for self-employed individuals, including tutors, builders, hairdressers, cosmetologists, website developers, and event workers.

Simultaneously, the draft budget for 2024 already indicates increased spending on security forces and courts, amounting to nearly 4.7 billion rubles. Additionally, almost 3.6 billion rubles will be allocated to the defense plant. In comparison, healthcare will receive only 2.5 billion rubles, or slightly less. Less than 1.9 billion rubles will be allocated for education, and a mere 217 million rubles for culture.

In essence, the regime intends to spend twice as much on security forces and the military as it does on healthcare, education, and culture combined. Belarusian taxpayers will bear the burden of these expenditures.

But rising taxes are not the only concern

Lukashenko has established a so-called charitable foundation, known as the "president's fund," which has been receiving contributions from medium-sized and large businesses for many years. However, this fund is no longer sufficient for Lukashenko's plans, and now he intends to extend his reach to all Belarusian men and women.

The dictator has effectively dismantled civil society in Belarus within a few years. Over 1,440 public organizations have been forcibly closed, many of which were engaged in charitable work, such as aiding homeless animals, supporting vulnerable individuals, people with disabilities, orphans, cancer patients, and more. Lukashenko has shown no mercy, disregarding the consequences of his actions.

It seems that the dictator has been made aware that his destruction of non-profit organizations and funds has caused significant harm. The state under his regime is simply incapable of providing the same level of assistance and support that these now-destroyed organizations used to provide.

Of course, Lukashenko is not one to hit rock bottom and stop there. It is crucial for him to maintain a facade of a "caring leader" to preserve his public image. Hence, he organizes the so-called "first fund" in his hypocritical style.

But who will fill this fund?

Perhaps Lukashenko and his family will return a couple of billion rubles from their foreign accounts, such as those in the Emirates. But that would be a lie. Instead, Lukashenko intends to rely on the Belarusian people to fill this fund. Nearly one billion rubles are already planned to be transferred from the national budget to the Lukashenko fund, with the intention of increasing salaries for civil servants, security forces, and public sector employees. However, the latter group has little reason to rejoice.

Forcing public officials to contribute to "charitable" causes through various mechanisms has long been known, and it is likely that mandatory contributions to the so-called "first fund" will be added to voluntary and compulsory subscriptions to state media, various society memberships, and the purchase of lottery tickets. Knowing Lukashenko, it is also possible that he intends to privatize existing charities in the country for his personal gain. After all, he needs funds to pay for additional apartments, expensive toilet brushes, and extravagant gifts for his loved ones.

The security forces compel those who have already donated to help Belarusians affected by the dictatorship to contribute tenfold to other so-called "charitable" causes. Now, they will also be forced to donate to the Lukashenko fund, which will be entirely at the dictator's disposal. The primary beneficiaries of "charitable aid" from the Lukashenko Foundation will likely be the security forces, riot police, and private military company "Wagner."

Lukashenko has effectively turned the entire country into a source of funding for his regime.

And he will not stop until he reaches into every pocket and extracts every penny from the Belarusian people, even if it was originally intended for those in genuine need. The dictator shows no concern for the well-being of others.


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