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Viachaslau Pilipuk: It is the authorities who are driving entrepreneurs to protests

03.02.2016  |  Society   |  Piotr Kuchta,  EuroBelarus
Viachaslau Pilipuk: It is the authorities who are driving entrepreneurs to protests

The Republican Public Association Perspective is preparing a demonstration at Bangalore Square in Minsk till “all legal forms of protest are exhausted”.

Another Anticrisis forum of entrepreneurs that took place in Beijing Hotel Minsk didn’t give self-employed entrepreneurs answers about the possibility for small business to come back to work at markets and shopping centers of the country.

Let us recall that starting from 1 January 2016 in accordance with the Decree No. 222 “Concerning the regulation of entrepreneurship activities and sales of goods by self-employed businessmen and other natural persons” entrepreneurs who sell products of light industry, imported from the countries of the Customs Union should provide the accompanying documents. At the same time, individual entrepreneurs claim, the majority of Russian suppliers refuse to issue documents on the origin of products or provide fake certificates. Trade without the accompanying documents is punished with fines and confiscation of goods.

At the latest Anticrisis Forum organized by the RPA Perspective the entrepreneurs demanded negotiations with Aliaksandr Lukashenka “for objective evaluation of the situation and elaboration of constructive solutions” as well as decided to organize the demonstration of individual entrepreneurs on February 15 at Bangalore Square in Minsk.

The number of entrepreneurs illustrates their moods, noted Viachaslau Pilipuk, Deputy Chair of the Board of the Republican Public Association “Perspective” in the interview with the EuroBelarus Information Service.

- If at the previous event on January 11 we counted 1700 participants, on February 1 2400 registered for the Forum and about 500 extra participants came without registration during the day. It seems that the authorities inactivity led to even bigger discontent and protests moods of the self-employed entrepreneurs. People started making rounds to Oblast and Regional Executive Committees, asking the officials about the reasons for inactivity towards the individual entrepreneurs.

According to Viachaslau Pilipuk, now people in the Belarus’ regions intend to address the local administration once in three days; however, “if the authorities keep being silent, they will be attending the administration offices daily”.

- Everything demonstrates that the protest moods are growing; calls for street demonstrations are heard louder and louder. Now we see mini-demonstrations in regional and oblast centers; let’s see what will happen on February 15 at Bangalore Square in Minsk. People’s readiness to consolidated actions is growing.

The decision to organize demonstration at Bangalore Square in Minsk is made because “we don’t want to hear the accusations that we didn’t use all the legal forms of protest available to the citizens of Belarus”.

- In negotiations with the West our authorities will say that entrepreneurs went to unauthorized demonstrations, whereas we will were ready to provide them with the space for voicing their protest. Despite that, they decided to break the law. Thus, we will be acting within the law until we exhaust all the opportunities. After that we will consider people’s moods and their readiness to take upon themselves responsibility. However, if the issue with the opportunity to work doesn’t have positive resolution, we assume that the protests won’t become less. And the moment will come when the suppressed discontent will be given way.

Viachaslau Pilipuk notes that “there is still no dialog between the self-employed entrepreneurs and the authorities”.

- Indeed, there were many more officials at the Forum on February 1 than there were before; but this is only because we invited the representatives of the European embassies in Belarus to our event, so the officials decided not to openly ignore our Forum. Taking into account that on February 15 the abolition of European sanctions against Belarus will be considered, the authorities had to demonstrate the seeming readiness to the dialog with people, who are talking about the impossibility to work.

Apart from the demand for negotiations with the head of state, the resolution of the Forum as of February 1 also states about the collection of 50 000 signatures for introducing the draft law on entrepreneurship that the self-employed entrepreneurs aim to elaborate.

The participants of the forum demanded urgent abolition of the Decree No.222 and restoration of the Decree No.285 as of June 18, 2005 “Concerning certain measures for the regulation of entrepreneurship activities”, which provided for the maximum simplification of running a business for individual entrepreneurs.

The self-employed entrepreneurs also demand to abolish the provisions of the Decree No.48 “Concerning the state control (audit) over the observation of technical regulations” when it comes to the administrative responsibility for violation of the requirements of technical regulations of the Customs Union and the Eurasian Economic Union.

The next Anticrisis Forum of entrepreneurs is to take place on February 29.

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