Belarus officially labels 500,000 people ‘parasites’

Around 500,000 Belarusians have been included in a database of the able-bodied citizens not currently employed in the economy.

The figures were made public by the country’s labour and social security minister Irina Kostevich in an interview with Belarus 1 TV following the launch of the new database.

A controversial ‘social parasite law’ which would have obliged all unemployed citizens to pay taxes was withdrawn earlier this year following nationwide protests. Instead of paying taxes, the unemployed will now have to pay for all state services, including housing and communal services in full.

However, critics have said that the government’s ‘parasite’ database could be flawed.

“There could be people included in the database who actually work abroad, pay taxes there and send money home. The state has no information about these people. They will have to prove that they don’t work in Belarus, but work somewhere abroad,” said Vadim Iosub, an analyst.

Mr Iosub also believes that the self-employed who have not registered as individual entrepreneurs could have found their way into the database.

According to Trading Economics, the unemployment Rate in Belarus remained unchanged at 0.30 per cent in November. However, the real figure is believed to be much higher.