Belarusian President Alexandre Lukashenko, routinely called ‘the last dictator in Europe,’ suffered a rare public loss and rescinded his intended ‘parasite tax’ which would impose a financial penalty on those unemployed in the ex-Soviet country.
“We will not collect this money for 2016 from those who were meant to pay it,” Lukashenko told state news agency Belta, reports The Moscow Times.
The measure would have forced Belarusians working less than 183 days a year to pay $250 to the government. The amount is slightly higher than the average monthly salary is in Belarus, or White Rus, where the monthly income has fallen from $680 to $350 during the recent economic slowdown.
The country has been in a recession for three years and is putting intense pressure on the central government. Belarus is also in an economic fight with Russia which puts further pressure on the government.
Announcement of the measure weeks before was extremely unpopular and caused rare protests on the streets of the strongman’s state. Today Lukashenko suggested government workers should find jobs for their lovers and their wives in order to help the economy.