The organizers of the protests continue to spread the calls for a complete halt of industrial giants and promise financial assistance. For example, the so-called the "national strike committee" promises to give USD 100,000 for Minsk Tractor Plant, Minsk Wheel Tractor Plant and "Grodno Azot". Protesters are promised the money from the "fund to assist the strikers", which has already collected more than a million dollars, allegedly ready to be given to all.
It is already obvious that the calls to block the work of the largest enterprises are not supported by the majority of employees. Prime Minister Roman Golovchenko recently said: people want to work, this is an objective reality. The experts discussed the possible consequences of strikes for the national economy.
Alex AVDONIN, analyst of the Belarusian Institute for Strategic Research:
- Now, when the organizers of the protests clearly understand that they were not able to raise the massive and popular protest movement, the main blow is aimed at the large state-owned enterprises, which are the basis of the Belarusian economy. In the near future all the information and psychological campaign will unfold around them: there will be many fakes about strikes, today the protesters are already promised some assistance from the various funds, which are allegedly formed from the personal savings of the Belarusians. One should understand that such campaign is aimed primarily at creating the desired "picture" for the western instigators: they want to show that the state does not control the process associated with the workers, and the revolution itself is made by the people and workforce.
With regard to some miracle in the form of financial support for the protesters, most likely, all of these funds are divided directly among their key decision makers and holders of the "stash". In fact the protesting workers will not receive any support, the information about such support is manipulative. At the same time, this technology can lead to the fact that the enterprises will cut their production. This will affect their financial position and stability of supply. Currently it is the most important thing for the global markets that the supplier of goods and services is constant and fulfills its obligations in their entirety. A supply disruption will result not only in the loss of markets, but also in large fines, which will be borne by the enterprise and its employees. What is the danger for the latter? Cuts in salary, various financial assistance and the actual loss of jobs due to the need for cuts.
Therefore it is very important to understand: in the current environment, when the world has plunged into the pandemic and a deep economic crisis, when companies worldwide are fighting in foreign markets for each customer, the weakening of the Belarusian positions leads to advantages for our competitors. We can suddenly lose what we have been doing for the last 10-15 years. We will not be able to recover and receive the same cash flows in the near future.
Leonid BRICH, chairman of the Standing Committee on Economic Policy of the House of Representatives:
- We cannot say that we have solved all issues in our economy. However, one can’t deny the movement forward and growth. Mass strikes at the enterprises will result in the loss of markets, bankruptcy, reduced incomes of the population. This will not only stop the economic development, but will also throw us back for many years. Therefore, all the calls to stop the production are the calls for the destruction of all the good that we have.
It is important to understand: it is very easy to lose foreign markets in a situation like this. Now the world sees huge competition, but in the pandemic conditions, when many enterprises in Europe and America were stopped, it becomes even more acute: everyone will fight for a place at any cost. We cannot allow losing the connections and contacts, we’ve been creating for years. What to do in this situation? I would recommend the workers of enterprises that stop operation not to solve problems in the streets and squares, but to sit at the negotiations table.
Valery BORODENYA, first vice-rector of the Academy of Management under the President of the Republic of Belarus, PhD in Economic Sciences:
- I want to note that some agitation is observed mainly at the state enterprises. I assume that the employees of large private companies, these also exist, also have their own opinion. But the core of the private companies continue their operation. They understand what losses and possibly even bankruptcy can be caused by the stop of the production.
No doubt, a powerful external lever, aimed at undermining the economy, is used. They say that when the economy collapses, some political purposes will be achieved. I am sure one should have their civil stance and defend it. But one should always remember about the consequences. One should remember about the price of certain actions: it can be incredibly high. And regardless of reaching the stated goals. In any scenario I would not put the economic well-being of the state on the altar. After all, there are many other tools to express your opinion. The external competitors will only benefit from the collapse of the enterprises and companies, and the economy in general. They say that someone has collected a million dollars, but if you divide it between even a few percent of the workers, we see that every employee will get a paltry sum, not comparable to their salary. Calls to stop production is incitement to achieve certain goals.
Let's take a look at the "yellow jackets" in France. They have 25 socialist demands, but they do not stop the enterprises. They understand that the strikes will not help in achieving social equality and justice, but will only result in the deterioration of their situation. And do not let themselves be manipulated. They defend their position, but after hours.