How ya gonna get 'em to stay on the farm?

Bookwoom Room points us toward this news of exciting developments in Belarussian policy toward agricultural workers:
Alexander Lukashenko is living up to his reputation as Europe’s last remaining dictator. The president of Belarus has decided to bring back serfdom on farms in a bid to stop urban migration.
Lukashenko has announced plans to introduce legislation prohibiting farm labourers from quitting their jobs and moving to the cities. “Yesterday, a decree was put on my table concerning – we are speaking bluntly – serfdom,” the Belarus leader told a meeting on Tuesday to discuss improvements to livestock farming, reported.
. . . Low agricultural wages and limited prospects have persuaded many farm workers to leave the countryside to seek opportunities in the cities or in neighbouring Russia.
. . .
If Lukashenko signs the serfdom decree, Belarus will be in violation of the 1957 international convention on the abolition of forced labour to which it is a signatory.  That didn’t stop him adopting a law in 2012 stopping timber industry workers from quitting their jobs and it probably won’t stop him now.
Russia may however raise objections.
That last part makes me feel lots better.


Ymar Sakar said...

At least they don't call it welfare.

Grim said...

Trust them to bring back the one aspect of the Middle Ages that I was happy to leave behind.

Tom said...

Now that was funny, Grim, despite the gravity of the situation.

MikeD said...

Lukashenko is Moscow's handpicked puppet... I mean leader of Belarus. Don't expect them to do a blessed thing about it. Maybe they'd replace him if he got too controversial. But I doubt it. And even if they did, it's not like his replacement would be a paragon of human rights and virtue.

Gringo said...

The president of Belarus has decided to bring back serfdom on farms in a bid to stop urban migration.

Lukashenko is simply bringing back Soviet policy, which wanted to keep collective workers on the farm -or kolkohz. [or whatever it was called.]

IIRC,Soviet farmworkers were denied internal passports to keep them where they were. And residence permits for Moscow were very difficult to obtain.

douglas said...

Gringo, most people were denied internal travel documents. My father-in-law was a Hungarian journalist that had travel privileges on occasion, and it was stressed to him that losing your internal travel papers in the USSR was really bad.