Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Two essays from the inside…

I am teaching English here. And though I have really no connection to the Belarusian opposition, I do like to ask my more advanced students more difficult and telling questions. Specifically, I have a new group of students from Polesskie University's school of business and as a test before joining our group/business think tank, I asked several Ethics-type questions relating to business and financing. After we began, I added another open question regarding the idea of being a reliable partner; that phrase showing up at least 99 times over the last several years on the pages of The BEINGHAD Times.

One of my better students, and to be sure, one from outside the university group, wrote the following two rather passionate short essays. They have been mildly corrected for grammar but the thoughts and the order of information are those of the writer- and what is more, they are rather passionate about these ideas.

I think there is a stereotype that Belarusians are only passive conformists, but here I think we can see that there is passion and there is awareness as to what is going on in this little country. And so because of the strength of the emotions, I offered to publish what was said here.

I guess I should also say that the student offered another anecdote about the suicide of one company officer. Before hanging himself in his office, the manager took the trouble writing on the walls of his office that the reason for is departure was that his boss had sold his job to an acquaintance for $500 and that his life was now ruined.

So here are two short essays from Belarus answering the questions:

Does it matter if there is nepotism in a company? And, what is meant by the phrase "reliable partner" in Belarus?

Nepotism: A fish rots from its head.

This is a very actual (real) question for our town. We know that the town of Pinsk is a small town and finding a job is always a big problem. Thus everybody tries to find a job via all methods. We are all people and of course, we think about our relatives first. For us, nepotism is such a usual (normal) thing like corruption is.

For example, Pinsk (companies) are solid nepotism. Where there is a normal salary, people run there to it. I want to say that if nepotism is at work, then a normal man won't work there.

My last chief was a straight example of nepotism. He was a son of the general director. Нe had an economic education but it didn't hamper his teaching me electric laws. I tried to take exception with him, but if you aren't a chief, then you are stupid. Now, I work at another place.

Yes, a simple man lives hard with this nepotism. You can't imagine how repugnant it is!

I (also) want to talk about the contract system in Belarus. Some time ago it was inserted as a stimulation of labor. I think you can guess what happened. Our directors began to use it for intimidation over the workers (really, I think that many people live in fear at work). It created a situation where each "director" began to feel like a king and people would come to them with sausage, cognac and dollars. Of course, this is normal for directors and chiefs, but probably (hopefully), they will die out like Mammoths.

I so want that it would (only) be necessary to count achievements at work and not dollars and bonds.

I'd (also) want to say several words about trade unions. What can a trade union be if the chief of that trade union is the best friend of the director? A Trade union must be an independent organization.

In the end, I say that the problem of nepotism is a global problem.
It seems to me that it is in all countries because people like this live everywhere.

Reliable partners

I think that we all know that Belarus, in the faces of our chiefs of state, was never a reliable partner to the West or to Russia. Until January 1, 2007, our head of state told us that Belarus had only one friend and it was Russia. But after (that day), I think that many people understood the real worth of that friendship. We understood that perhaps, the Belarusian (economic) miracle was not from the mind of our Batski but rather (instead) from inexpensive oil and gas. That picture was almost like the picture of this year's gas crisis in Ukraine. During this time, Belarus also remained a “reliable partner” to the East and to the West, forgetting about its 2007 position. After those developments, the Belarusian government began to become a reliable partner for other countries. So we found friends in Venezuela who “believed” in our reliability and honest friendship and allowed us to get oil in their country. But recently we went further and began to be reliable partners for (to) the “alien” West. Really, it only cost the discharge of several “political bastards” from our prisons. Probably, several of the bastards (such as Kozulin) had been at one time “reliable” partners for our head of state too. But in the end, they became unreliable partners. Why is this so?

We go to everybody with our newly opened souls to find new reliable partners but so far, we have not found them.

Of course, each country studies its own interests. We aren’t an exclusion (exception). But why doesn't anybody believe in the friendship we are selling? Maybe it is because Belarus never kneels!

I don't think that Belarus has anything to sell. There is no oil, no gas, and worst, no people with any potential. And this is the most fearful (frightening) thing. And our thinking was that via changing our reliable partners we might survive somehow. I don't like this situation at all.