One milk-processing factory in Slonim, Belarus reportedly started paying its employees in sour cream rather than in Belarusian rubles, according to the Belarus Digest.
But this isn’t the only case of economic troubles in the former Soviet Republic.
On Thursday hundreds of Chinese migrant construction workers were protesting after not receiving wages. And back in early June, workers from the steelwork-production plant organised a strike after not receiving wages for two months. (Ultimately, they were paid — but the plant’s financial future looks bleak.)
Even the successful Belarusian lingerie company Milavitsa isn’t doing so hot: the company cut its working days from 5 to 3 following corresponding cuts in wages, according to Belarus Digest.
Belarus’s economy has been in a tough spot for some years. It never fully recovered after 2011 “when a balance of payments crisis drained the country’s hard-currency reserves.”And then things got even worse over the last year because of its dependence on Russia.
In fact, back in June Belarus’ president Aleksander Lukashenka said that the country lost $US3 billion because of the economic turmoil following the annexation of Crimea. (There was a slight uptick in business immediately following Russia’s import ban, but that positive effect was nothing compared to the negative.)
Furthermore, Belarus is also plagued by a domestic problem: the state controls most parts of the economy.
The country’s economic freedom score is 49.8, making it the 153rd freest country in 2015, according to The Heritage Foundation. (As a reference, that puts Belarus just one above Micronesia.)
“Proposed labour laws include a so-called serfdom decree that threatens to limit the free movement of agricultural workers. These policies, along with centralised state control and harsh redistribution, have stifled Belarus’ prosperity and economic freedom compared with to the rest of Europe,” according to the Heritage Foundation.
(Editing by Sam Ro)