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January 4th, 2008. Posted in Interviews, News from Belarus

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Valery Levaneuski: “January is just a beginning of protest actions”

“Most of entrepreneurs of Hrodna have supported a nation-wide action of protest of market vendors. “Tsentralny” market is almost empty, less than 40% of trade outlets work in “Paudnyovy” market. Nobody sells food at the both markets. However, January is just a beginning of protest rallies of entrepreneurs,” one of the leaders of entrepreneurs’ movement, a former political prisoner Valery Levaneuski told.

Only one third of trade outlets worked at Karona merchandise market. Valery Levaneuski explains this by little awareness of people.

“Protest moods among entrepreneurs are rather strong, but people lack information about events in other cities, whether steps are made by authorities or they ignore this problem,” Levaneuski says.

As said by him, “some people haven’t digested the events; some people according to Belarusian tradition hope that everything things will straighten out. Entrepreneurs are not sufficiently organized in our country. Earlier they always tried to solve their problems on their own. And only now they start to understand that they cannot defend their rights without teamwork,” the politician believes.

That is why Levaneuski believes that political parties should ride the wave of vendors’ protest moods, in order to help entrepreneurs to create a really significant social movement. “And changes must take place. The authorities would be forced to meet us half-way. On December 10 entrepreneurs organized a rally on the square almost for the first time, and before the new year some strange decree about extension of the term for preferential favourable transition to unitary enterprise status. But it’s not a solution for private entrepreneurs. Decree No. 760 is to be cancelled, no matter how many times they could say it’s inviolable,” Valery Levaneuski said.

As we have informed, entrepreneurs are mostly indignant at the paragraph 1.1 of the Decree No.760, according to which an individual entrepreneur can hire only close relatives since the new year. At the same time, transformation of a private enterprise into a private unitary enterprise would cause considerable financial expenses, increased tax burden and an obligatory position of a bookkeeper, which cannot be afforded by most of entrepreneurs.

The government justifies its actions by a so-called “normalization” of small and medium business, and entrepreneurs believe that by such steps the authorities are set to quell entrepreneurs as a class.

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