Updated at 01:25,03-03-2021

People in provinces live on poverty line: some plants pay 60–80 thousand rubles


Workers, even those who were to work two years before retirement, are laid off in Kletsk town (the Minsk region).

Four process plants and a mechanical plant, branch of the Minsk Automobile Plant (MAZ) work in Kletsk. Acceding to official data, unemployment in the town doesn’t exceed two per cents, while the dwellers say the officials hide real unemployment rate, "Radio Svaboda" reports.

Work at household plots and farms, as well as nearest forests full of mushrooms and berries help Kletsk dwellers to tackle the economic crisis, Inna Kebikava, a teacher of the Belarusian and English languages, thinks. She run in the last local elections as a BPF party candidate and knows the situation firsthand.

"Many people work for farmers seasonally", the teacher says. "People also gather mushrooms in woods for sale. There are some who have greenhouses and sell cucumbers, seedlings, tomatoes."

Nevertheless, the living standards have recently decreased in the town and unemployment has become hidden.

"There were private enterprises, but they have disappeared," Inna Kebikava notes. "The people were stifled by taxes. The unemployment here is when someone’s friends occupy good positions, while the rest are being forced out. Workers of plants can’t prolong labour contracts as there are no working places there and enterprises are unable to sell their products. People are deprived of opportunity to work two or three years remaining till the retirement, so they will have small pensions."

Syarhei Panamarou, human rights activist and editor of independent "Boyki Klyotsk" newspaper, tells about the life in the town:

"A director of the mechanical plant said: "I can’t understand why they don’t quit though I pay them only 60–80 thousand!’ Officials have to force people out in such a way, because they have no resources to pay."

45-year-old Syarhei Dameika damaged his neck bone working at bakery factory, he is physically challenged now. He got an offer to work as a guard.

"I quitted, but I was deprived a status of physically challenged, though doctors confirm the diagnosis," Syarhei Dameika tells. "I was sent to a job center to learn to be a gas worker. But I can’t pass medical board due to my condition of health. I can’t receive a status of physically disabled, but at the same time I can’t find a job."

The economic crisis has even greater impact on local schoolchildren.

"Girls come to lessons, they say "My dad was fired", teacher Inna Kebikava tells. "I see them every day, they are hungry. If they see someone left some food, they ask if they may eat up. Parents can’t pay for what the school demands. A Kapelle came to Klyotsk, and all children had to pay 3500 rubles. Teachers paid for those who didn’t have money, because children say ‘Mom has no money to buy bread."