Valery LEVANEUSKI - personal site  
December 8th, 2002. Posted in Author's articles

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Once again about strikes of entrepreneurs

In recent release of ISE (newspaper «the information Stock exchange») №50 (252) from 5.12.2002 in article «There is no exit … the Exit is nearby!!!» The next attempt has been undertaken, to understand problems of development of entrepreneurship in Belarus.

The author of article sees the basic exit in association of all entrepreneurs in one organisation. Theoretically it is true. But today to make it in Belarus is impossible.

We cannot automatically transfer experience of the next Poland to Belarus on two principal causes:

1. The present Belarus power will not register such structure.

2. Poles have united for the decision absolutely other problems and in the country in which there is no dictatorship, there absolutely other economic system.

3. In Poland small-scale entrepreneurship development is a priority direction. At us the state policy is actually directed on liquidation of the private initiative.

But it does not mean that it is necessary to combine hands.

The question of association of entrepreneurs in struggle for the rights costs for a long time. Everything is good in its season. With whom today to unite? With the abnormal citizen from Mozyr which considers itself as the representative of entrepreneurs of the given city? With “pocket” clubs or “trade unions”? With “seminaries” of type of A.Patupy. For what? For creation of branch of psychiatric hospital or new bureaucratic structure which will help further to exhaust entrepreneurs in a corner a name of entrepreneurs.

To understand an underwater part of an iceberg under the name «entrepreneurship Development in Belarus» it is necessary to answer some questions:

1. Why there are serious problems at entrepreneurs of Belarus?

Roots of problems of entrepreneurship lay much more deeply, than many entrepreneurs think. All has begun in 1994.

In Belarus was restored and continues to operate the socialist model of development of a society . In the given model of development there is no place to the private initiative basically. As to me one minister has told, we should liquidated for a long time you, entrepreneurs, , but there is no place to put you. Here is such position of the state.

With 1994 for 1995 the legislative base allowing any official to expose any penalties of entrepreneurs has been prepared, to institute criminal proceedings all and all even in infringements which they did not make.

Scale approach to entrepreneurs has begun with the end of 1995 from the state in the form of mass tax checks and an extract of huge penalties.

For six years the national economy has actually been put «on knees». More than two hundred thousand entrepreneurs in Belarus is not an indicator of development of entrepreneurship as a whole.

2. Who are such individual entrepreneurs of Belarus?

More than 70 percent of the people occupied in small entrepreneurship, are people for which to live there is nothing (the pensioners, the reduced workers of the enterprises and the organisations, etc.).

The salary and pension are so low, that they suffice only on a covering even the minimum expenses for physical existence of the person and his family. Entrepreneurship, for today, is unique chance of the unemployed to create to itself a workplace and to try to survive. Today, unfortunately, growth of number of individual entrepreneurs is carried out, exclusively, because of general reduction of workers at the enterprises.

It is a trouble of Belarus.

3. Why entrepreneurs of Belarus strike?

The nature of protest actions of entrepreneurs lays not in ambitions of this or that leader. And, in a state system and the politician of the state in economy sphere. The relation of the state to entrepreneurs will change – protest actions will stop.

Mass protest actions have arisen spontaneously in the beginning of 1996 in many cities of Belarus. Many entrepreneurs did not understand, for what their state pursues. Indignations have begun. After all they take nothing from the state, taxes pay, feed families, itself have employed. Here then has arisen Strike Committee of entrepreneurs. Belarus is a unique country in the world where massive strikes of entrepreneurs already are spent more than 6 years.

Strike Committee of entrepreneurs is not the initiator of strikes; it only spends them whenever possible most organized when in it there is a necessity. The basic initiator of strikes is local and republican authorities, instead of Levaneuski or Strike Committee.

4. Negotiating process.

We always supported negotiations. We even welcome negotiations of “pocket” structures with the authorities. In these organisations, as well as in the Government, there are sensible people. Negotiating process is one (but not unique) from ways of the decision of a question.

5 years the different registered structures, from their words, carry on various negotiations, but result as a whole – «the big minus». Other result cannot be. Since chiefs carries on negotiations with subordinates.

According to A.Potupy, main man-on-negotiations in Belarus- he is. He conducted (or conducts) any negotiations with the Government. Not clearly who has authorised him to speak on behalf a name of all individual entrepreneurs and to carry on negotiations. Whether is, in general, in his organisation IE? But the most interesting is another. Who prevents A.Potupe to carry on the negotiations before strikes and between strikes? About what he there has agreed? About the Decree new the project on which entrepreneurs will continue to “smother” according to plan. And he puts down it himself to credit.

Basic our difference I will show on several examples:

- “Pocket” structures “have achieved” that cash registers will be entered in pavilions over 15 sq.m. since January, 1st 2003, and for the others – since April, 1st, 2003. We support full cancellation of cash registers for the persons paying the uniform tax. To us it is not clear, what for a cash register when we pay taxes beforehand.

- The registered organisations support arrangement of commas in the new project of the decree of the president considerably worsening conditions of activity of entrepreneurs. We act, in general, against the given project etc., etc.

We, prevent to conduct to nobody “negotiations” and of it to be proud. But why they (organisations) consider, that they the most important, and others have not the right to do something.

At all public organisations is having got tired, here and start up operate according to it. We are not against.

5. Strike Committee as a political party prototype.

To judge public organisation, it is necessary to know, who is its founder for what it was created, what it true purposes.

In 1996 the enterprise theme was not in a fashion. Public organisations and parties considered “shuttles” – “meshochniki” (entrepreneurs who in bags transfer the goods), and A.Lukashenka – «lousy fleas» etc. Approximately 6 years of struggle, a situation in a root has changed. Enterprise movement has gained in strength and applies already for the power. In local Councils, in Parliament there were the entrepreneurs some of entrepreneurs the forces and on the last presidential elections have tried. Strike Committee of entrepreneurs also will spend further work on “introduction” of entrepreneurs to all governing bodies, politicization of entrepreneurs. Work is difficult, but we can do it. If in 1996 political requirements were supported by 3-5 percent of entrepreneurs, today already more than 50 percent.

Entrepreneurs are unique for today the political and public force, capable to organize mass protest actions at own expense. Today it is possible to say already that Strike committee of entrepreneurs is and political party which has the Charter, the purposes and problems.

6. Enterprise structures

Approximately, since 1999 all began to register in friends to entrepreneurs. All have started to name themselves the main defenders of small entrepreneurship.

Especially in it political parties which are small, powerless which in Belarus, practically, do not have internal financing began to try.

Interest to entrepreneurship development was shown also by the foreign funds which are carrying out the financial help to public organisations.

The state in the person of Special Services as it has been disturbed by growth new, uncontrollable the force state. Officials of various levels too have understood, as here it is possible to correct the financial position (foreign business trips, participation in paid seminars, lecturing for money, etc.). Officials are too people. And anything human is not alien to them.

In other words, behind occurrence, growth, regeneration of public organisations and other enterprise structures there were following factors:

- The civil initiative, desire to protect entrepreneurs.

- The personal reasons (ambitions, etc.)

- Interest of political parties

- Desire to receive the gratuitous financial help

- Interest of special services Belarus to take under the control enterprise movement

- Official interest

Unfortunately, only approximately 10 percent of “defenders” have the direct relation to entrepreneurship. The others, as a rule, have arisen because of last three factors specified above (separately or in interaction with other factors). Their registration occurs without complications. Problems at these organisations happen only when they forget, to whom serve.

7. About association of enterprise structures

There is one more serious illness in enterprise movement.

Jealousy of the “old” organisations. Earlier in Belarus was only to steam of the organisations which anywhere and everywhere invited as the structures representing all entrepreneurs of Belarus. These structures have been created by officials for themselves And here, as mushrooms, have started to grow new enterprise structures. There was a competition. On TV, in newspapers new representatives of the enterprise movement began to act, much it became clear, that “old” are “lime” structures of entrepreneurs and any real relation to development of small entrepreneurship they have no. On the various foreign conferences connected with development of a small-scale entrepreneurship other people began to go. I.e. functionaries have removed from public “feeding trough”.

Here therefore “grandfathers” and “grandmothers” in every possible way stir to creation of new enterprise structures or try to tighten them under itself.

Apparently from the above-stated, association of all structures concerning entrepreneurship or calling by those, basically is impossible, since after association everyone will carry out the problem. All energy will leave on internal conflicts. Such organisation is doomed to disorder. And, all conflicts predicted.

Only time and real affairs will help to understand, the organisation is for what purpose created. Then it is possible to speak and about association.

That fact is amazing, that when such organisation only was created or nothing meaning in our movement then she urges to unite, but on its conditions and with it at the head.

We offer everyone partner relations. Who does not wish to join our numbers help or at least do not stir at carrying out of actions by us on protection of the rights of entrepreneurs. Organise the actions.

Strange distinctive feature of some “enterprise” structures consists in beginning the activity, and, across all Belarus, at once with opposition to Strike Committee.

But it is a good indicator. Since such organisation opens at once the cards, there is clear a sense of its creation or regeneration, on the one hand, and recognitions of force of Strike committee, on the other hand. Even in Mozyr there is one citizen, trying to put to us «sticks in wheels». Is afraid? That and whom – it is not clear.

8. About strikes of entrepreneurs

Has not managed in article and without rough discussion of role of Strike Committee of entrepreneurs of Belarus and personally Valery Levaneuski in the permission of questions in small entrepreneurship sphere.

The selection of the interrogated leaders of the Belarus associations of entrepreneurs is spent strange enough. Practically all of them from the structures organized by BNF (the Belarus Popular front) and near it organisations. As it is known, with this organisation at us absolutely different approaches to the decision of the Belarus problems. Acting in the newspaper I know all personally, to business some of them have today the most remote relation. Some were in our command, some – my pupils. The reasons of their leaving absolutely different. Some have decided to create the organisations, is also such which simply have not sustained «check on pediculosis».

All of them make use of the experience got in our teamwork, sometimes and against me. That criticise me, it is good. That only 7 persons from all Belarus do not know about forthcoming strike of the entrepreneurs, too a quite good indicator. Personally my relation to them the miscellaneous. I respect Someone, not looking at criticism, to someone I concern as patients of psychiatric hospital, to someone – as to «delegate-spy». In any case, everyone has the right to the statement of the opinion, criticism and creation of the organisations.

From «delegate-spy» to some the full list of members of Strike Committee is very necessary . And what for? That then tax and other bodies “worked” with everyone. We already it passed. In due time we have got rid of these curious and we do not regret about it.

The typical representative of the progovernmental enterprise structure A.Potupa too has decided to insert the «nose». It is pleasantly.

How many I remember him, the sense of his performances is reduced to the following: «Give me money, I will protect all entrepreneurs». To him it is acted in film in three million dollars which, by its approximate estimations, have left on two waves of strikes. To it this money and it would stop 90-95 % of negative tendencies and has strengthened resource base of entrepreneurship. At the nights the person, probably, does not sleep, all suffers, as it by it such huge sums pass. Or at A.Potupy the calculator for «approximate estimations» has broken or here something another. It is All right, when grandmothers carry fables, and here extends – the president of the Belarus union of entrepreneurs and on newspaper pages. Whether it is possible to perceive such people seriously?

There is an impression, that this person does not understand at all small entrepreneurship problems.

The most important thing, is that anybody from interrogated, except two representatives about the governmental “enterprise” structures from Brest and Minsk, does not deny necessity of strikes. All operating entrepreneurs support strike, as a way of the decision of problems. Divergences happen only in terms, date and promotion of requirements.

9. Once again about association of entrepreneurs.

It is very good, that some enterprise organisations and initiative groups unite without our participation. Time for new leaders has come. Strike Committee of entrepreneurs never said, that it represents interests of all entrepreneurs of Belarus. Real work will suffice for all.

The person or initiative group which could rally round itself adherents to provide organisation self-financing it is possible to respect only. We with them will find common language.

Association of populists, talkers, grabbers, shouters, loonies, fulse-entrepreneurs, etc. too are extremely necessary, since energy from which they prevent to work to us, will be directed on their internal conflicts. They will find out, who from them the cleverest who most time with Ministers for a hand greeted who the most important, etc. In summary as spiders in bank, will eat each other.

For today by different structures it is effectively to protect the rights of entrepreneurs.

The registered organisations let operate within the limits of the Charter, not registered – protect the rights within the limits of the current legislation.

Today in Belarus there are very few enterprise structures.

All registered structures unite less than 1 % of entrepreneurs. They should be much more. Not necessarily registered. The present legislation yet does not demand registration of simply initiative group.

In each city, in each market should be as much as possible enterprise structures. The monopoly of one structure will necessarily lead to occurrence of new officials which will do nothing in protection of the rights of entrepreneurs. Approximately on 200.000 entrepreneurs 500 structures are necessary at least. And they will solve: to whom, when and with whom to unite.

Chairman of Strike Committee of entrepreneurs of Belarus Valery Levaneuski

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Note: Translated by means of machine translation. The original text in Russian is on a site or