Belarus' first post-Soviet leader protests his ?1 government pension as "shame" to government

The Associated Press

MINSK, Belarus - Belarus' first post-Soviet leader has angrily denounced the nation's autocratic president for deliberately keeping him on a ?1 state pension.

Stanislav Shushkevich took helm after the 1991 Soviet collapse and led Belarus until 1994.

The 75-year old Shushkevich issued an open letter Friday, denouncing his pension as a "shame" to President Alexander Lukashenko and other authorities. Lukashenko put Shushkevich on a fixed pension 14 years ago, and it has now shrunk to an equivalent of ?1 because of high inflation.

An average pension in Belarus is now equivalent to some ?100.

Lukashenko's office refused to comment on Shushkevich's letter.

Lukashenko has ruled the 10-million nation with an iron hand for 16 years. He admired the Soviet Union and criticized Shushkevich for spearheading its collapse.


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