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Former Belarusian Leader Complains About Meager Pension

Stanislau Shushkevich called his pension 'a mockery.'
Stanislau Shushkevich called his pension 'a mockery.'
MINSK -- Former Belarusian leader Stanislau Shushkevich has urged the government to increase the size of his pension, which he said totals less than 1 euro per month, RFE/RL's Belarus Service reports.

Shushkevich made his appeal in an open letter published in the newspaper "Narodnaya Volya" (People's Will).

The pension -- 3,200 Belarusian rubles -- was established by President Alyaksandr Lukashenka in 1997. The average pension in Belarus is 480,000 Belarusian rubles (about $150) per month.

In the letter, Shushkevich calls his monthly pension a "mockery to the state pension" and urges Prime Minister Syarhey Sidorsky, presidential administration chief Uladzimir Makey, and the chairman of each chamber of parliament to revise his pension.

Shushkevich, 75, told RFE/RL that his pension has not increased since 1997. According to him, what used to be a comparatively decent monthly amount in 1997 today is slightly more than $1 but less than 1 euro.

"That explicitly shows the extent of the national currency's devaluation and the level of overall inflation in Belarus," he said.

Shushkevich was the chairman of the Belarusian Supreme Soviet from 1991 to 1994 and played a key role in creating the Commonwealth of Independent States.

Along with Russian President Boris Yeltsin and Ukrainian President Leonid Kravchuk, Shushkevich signed the Belavezh Accords that dissolved the Soviet Union in 1991.

Shushkevich spends most of his time lecturing at universities in Poland, the United States, and some Asian countries.