Aliaksandr Yarashuk: “We are likely to repeat the beginning of the 90s – all what the authorities have been scaring us with for so long seems to happen soon”
BKDP Chairman Aliaksandr Yarashuk speaks on the future of the Belarusian economy, how to protect yourself in a situation of economic crisis and not be left alone with your problems.
Greetings to everyone, friends!
I am the Chairman of the Congress of Democratic Trade Unions of Belarus Aliaksandr Yarashuk. Today is the 15th day of Russia’s war against Ukraine. These two peoples are not only very close to us but also the main trade and economic partners of Belarus. What awaits us in connection with the war? What will be the consequences of the economic sanctions imposed by the international community against Russia and Belarus for military aggression in Ukraine? How to protect ourselves from the consequences of the economic crisis that awaits us, given the conditions of complete unemployment for workers?
The crisis will be considerable. Our economy is export-oriented. Economists predict a loss of about 40% of Belarus’ exports – first of all, these are state-owned oil and wood processing enterprises, the potash industry, metallurgy, and logistics. Many Western companies, representatives of the IT industry are leaving the country or restricting their work here. Their relocation has already become massive. All this will lead to an instant increase in unemployment, which will become even more aggravated in connection with the return from Russia of tens of thousands of our citizens, migrant workers. This is not to mention the financial and currency crisis which has already led to a fall in real wages and pensions of Belarusians.
What should Belarusians do? How to protect our families from poverty which becomes inevitable in a situation of legal and economic chaos in which the country is plunging as a result of the inability of the authorities to influence the situation, the lack of professionalism among officials and the intention to take responsibility for making decisions at this fateful time for the nation?
1. Rely only on yourself. Belarusians are able to survive in the most incredible and difficult conditions. Review your savings. Postpone until better times the purchase of things that you can do without now.
2. Start looking for a side job or a new job in case you become unemployed. First of all, it can be a small or medium-sized business that is most adapted to crisis conditions. And I strongly recommend you: try to organize yourself. It will be difficult for you to defend your rights alone in front of the administration of the enterprise. Difficult and impossible. Find associates, like-minded people and unite in independent trade unions. Create them and come to us. We have years of experience working under pressure. We have repeatedly proven that we are able to defend the rights of the working people in negotiations with the management of enterprises and in courts. Even when the “law can be neglected” rule works, you will not be left alone with your problems.
What will happen next? How long will the crisis last?
Unfortunately, there is no answer to these questions. We do not see the bottom. Most likely, we will return to a state close to the beginning of the 90s – with the same deficit, speculators in foreign currency, disrupted enterprises, with the same inflation, rising prices, meager wages – all the things which the authorities have been scaring us with all the time and which it has led to.
However! In this collapse, instead of the bankrupt command-administrative economy, we will have a chance to build an adequate socio-economic model for the 21st century, in which the political decisions of the country’s leadership, as now, will not run counter to the interests of the people of Belarus, but will follow from them and obey them, where the strategy will not be a return to the mossy past, but investments in building the future of the nation and country.
Let’s keep our backs straight. And let’s pass this difficult historical period, the period of severe trials, with dignity – just as our neighbors do, setting us an example.
Thank you for your attention!