On February 28, 2019, Andrei Strizhak, a board member of the REP Reade Union from Gomel, answered the questions of the "Radio Racyja" (RR) about the REP's struggle against Presidential Ordinance No. 3.
The website praca-by.info posted a transcript of the broadcast with Dmitry Karmazin, a RR journalist.
"Let's talk about 'parasites': is there any activeness in 2019 or not? I took the topic from your Facebook page: you wrote that Gomel is the main point of parasites' activeness, because trials are on there. Has something changed, has the activeness decayed?"
"You are quite right: it's Gomel, where we deal most actively with Ordinance No. 3. Just yesterday, we received a message from officials that the database of parasites lost 86,000 people, who had been included therein by mistake. My position of a rights defender and the position of the REP Trade Union is that this database must be completely liquidated, because only a dead person can be totally not involved in the national economy. Those who work or don't work in Belarus, are still buying bread and pay for public transport, therefore, they are involved. This is an absurd statement from the point of view of logic, not just economy. Now, together with Leonid Sudalenko, we'll challenge the decision of the 'parasite commission' about the court. Unfortunately, this way is closed for us, as, like in 2017, the court has ruled that the issue is beyond the court's jurisdiction. It turns out that all other issues can be considered by the court, but the cases on Ordinance No. 3 are, for some reason, beyond jurisdiction. But we wouldn't give up and now are trying, together with Maria Tarasenko, a woman, included into the above database, to through another judicial way and claim compensation of the moral harm the commission caused to the woman."
"The commission first put her into the database and then deleted her, right?"
"No, it hasn't. That's the question: it hasn't deleted her yet. One of Maria's claims was not just her removal from the database, but to raise the issue of non-constitutionality of Ordinance No. 3. It's clear that this is the utmost claim; officials will be very afraid to consider it, but we, as rights defenders, must all the time declare that Ordinance No. 3 is unconstitutional and violates human rights."
"You say that the authorities reported that they had deleted 80,000 from the database, because they made some mistakes. What were these mistakes? How the database was compiled?"
"It's a good question! After all, authorities had two years to do this. But we all the deficiencies: the database includes both pensioners and working people. And this raises a general question: how efficient is our state system in general? Another issue is that they have already postponed several times the actual enforcement of the Ordinance. Yesterday, they stated that only 54,000 'parasites' will receive 'new' utility bills for February. That is, out of 524,000 persons in the database, only 54,000 are '100% parasites', surely not in the economy! This is a true evidence of the inefficiency of the entire system of state management, which is unable to realize this absurd idea, which comes from the very top. We know how it usually happens in our country. State bureaucrats usually sabotage such orders; however, this time it's a personal initiative of the Belarusian president; and they can't ignore it whatsoever."
"A '100% parasite' is a new interesting wording. Please tell me how it all happens technically? A person receives some invitation to the commission, doesn't he? How do officials behave at its sittings? Different information abounds."
"If we talk about the algorithm of actions of a person who wants to go by his own and exclude him/herself from the database, he/she can apply either the commission itself, or the so-called 'one window' service. Few people do this, but those who visit these commissions say that everything is very different. For example, there is a practice that people are pressed and asked there: 'Why you don't you work?' But the fact is that commissions can't employ or send a person to a vacancy, where he or she will earn the broadly proclaimed 'five hundred US dollars'. I personally think that both the commissions' work and the Ordinance itself are just a profanation of the idea of employing people. The state should create conditions for business development, for creating new jobs, and not to chase people who try to survive for the pennies they earn either abroad or at home, but without official registration."
"And what to do with the people who don't want to work, who abuse alcoholic beverages?"
"The right to work is a right, not an obligation. If a person does not want to work, then let him not work. Forcing people to work is senseless – neither for the economy nor for the employer. The authorities had already tried to employ people under Ordinance No. 18, but they accomplished no labour feats, but only created additional problems for employers."