Welfare state

Many free (or quasi-free) social services (secondary and partially higher education, healthcare) are centrally funded from the budget, and a large number of services are provided at a lower cost, including housing and public transport. The population pays only about 70% of public transport costs and 25% of the cost of housing utilities.

In Belarus, a person’s eligibility to receive subsidies and benefits depends on their income According to World Bank data, the wealthiest 20 percent of the population receive 20 percent of benefits, while the poorest 20 percent receive only 27 percent. Quite often people with the highest incomes receive a larger benefit package than the poorest (as they consume a greater quantity of subsidized services), which allows international experts to talk about "leakage" of benefits in favour of households that could pay the full cost of the services they receive.

By controlling prices, the government keeps prices for basic foods and other essential items artificially low. The state also provides soft loans to various public enterprises, including agricultural ones, regardless of their efficiency levels or ability to pay back loans. Loans are often used to pay wages and so maintain an excess number of employees.