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The regime is delving into the pockets of Belarusians


Pavel Latushka: Deputy Head of the United Transitional Cabinet of Belarus, Head of the National Anti-Crisis Management, Ambassador

Lukashenko's draft decree, which proposes a reduction in the maximum cash payment for goods and services, has been submitted for so-called public discussion.

Lukashenko's draft decree outlines a gradual reduction, over the next two years, of the maximum amount of cash payments accepted by legal entities and individual entrepreneurs from individuals. The reduction would decrease from 20,000 BYN (around 6,000 USD) to 4,000 BYN (around 1,200 USD) when selling goods, works, or services.

This Decree was enacted against the backdrop of the fact that, since March 1 of this year, the security forces of the Lukashenko regime, including employees from the prosecutor's office, state security, internal affairs, the investigative committee, and the operational analytical center, have been granted 24-hour super access to all non-cash payments made by Belarusians.

This access was granted based on a decree issued by the usurper in August 2023, which aimed to counter unauthorized payment transactions.

Against this backdrop, security forces have already started calling Belarusians for "conversations," and have taken measures such as blocking their accounts. During these "conversations," individuals in uniform ask a standard set of questions, including full name, address, place of work, inquiries about cryptocurrency transactions, and details of payments or transfers made, including recipients and destinations.

Typically, these inquiries are then forwarded to the investigative committee, potentially leading to a common scenario: the initiation of a criminal case, detainment, and a subsequent demand from the same security forces to resolve the case through payment. Refusal to comply could result in several years of imprisonment. Sadly, innocence or lack of wrongdoing holds little significance within the current system established by Lukashenko. The regime and its servants are in dire need of money.

Starting from April 1, employers are also required to provide data on their employees' income to Lukashenko's tax system. This creates yet another "database" of Belarusians controlled by the regime, this time specifically related to income, which was established back in 2023.

This regulation mandates that employers provide tax authorities with information regarding nearly all employee income, including benefits and personal income tax amounts.

Furthermore, the updated tax code obligates banks to provide tax information about individual clients whose total incoming transactions for a calendar year exceed 150,000 BYN (around 45,700 USD).

Hence, the Lukashenko regime aims to exercise complete control over the monetary transactions of Belarusians, enabling them to monitor income, entrepreneurial activities, and significant purchases such as apartments, country houses, or cars. This control could potentially lead to the seizure of what they deem as excess funds, favoring the dictator's loyal servants.

In light of these circumstances, we once again recommend minimizing non-cash payments and considering alternatives to storing savings in Belarusian banks.

It is crucial to remember that if a state of emergency or martial law is declared in Belarus, your accounts and savings may be frozen overnight.

These measures to strengthen control over the finances of Belarusians occur simultaneously with an increase in the prices of various goods and services within our country, including mobile operator services and cigarettes. The illegitimate authorities are intensifying their control over so-called "parasites" and socially vulnerable groups of citizens.

For instance, Belarusians traveling abroad for more than two months with children under three years of age will be required to inform social services. Consequently, these services will suspend benefit payments until the individuals return to the country. Failure to comply may result in becoming a debtor to the state and potentially facing criminal charges.

Simultaneously, the regime is impacting Belarusians with counter-sanctions by prohibiting the import of numerous food products from European countries. Additionally, duty-free limits on parcels from abroad and goods imported by land are being reduced.

It appears that Lukashenko has no intention of retracting his previous promise to eliminate entrepreneurs. Notably, Lukashenko's quasi-parliament has passed legislation that restricts the permitted types of activities for individual entrepreneurs. Meanwhile, in Minsk, new individual entrepreneurs have not been registered for the third consecutive year, allegedly due to technical reasons, resulting in a decrease of over 10,000 individual entrepreneurs in Belarus over the past year.

Lukashenko is confidently steering the Belarusian economy towards a state resembling impoverished Cuba, where essential food products are currently in short supply.

 

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