As the last country in Europe, the Belarusians want to taste the liberal capitalism hoping that they will not face the fate of the Ukrainians, Lithuanians, Latvians or the Poles, who have moved to the West trying to make money for a living working at various “low-level” jobs.
The Belarusians are tired of President Lukashenka, so they have a right to taste the West, have a right to be unemployed or homeless. They do not want to pay symbolic costs for municipal services, cheap and qualitative medication, free education and social security. It is a freedom of choice.
This message distorts the presentation of the socio-economic situation in Belarus and the EU – Belarus is presented as a highly developed Communist-style welfare state, while EU countries face challenges such as unemployment and homelessness. The statements that Belarusians “pay symbolic costs for municipal services”, “have cheap medicine”, “free education” and “social security” do not have anything in common with the real socio-economic situation in the country.
One of the main reasons for the current protests in Belarus is the dramatic reduction of the level of life of the population, which has been taking place during recent years. At the present moment, Belarus is one of the poorest countries in Europe – it has a lower GDP per capita than any EU member state. Other socio-economic indicators also prove that Belarus has a substantially lower level of life than any other EU member state – life expectancy (74 – one of the lowest in Europe), minimal salary – 124 EUR (lowest in Europe), unemployment benefit – from 9 to 18 euros per month (a “symbolic” payment); average salary – 440 EUR.