Lukashenka: No choice but to meet pay target

The government has no choice but to ensure that the average monthly pay reaches 1,000 rubels ($525 at the current exchange rate) in Belarus this year, Alyaksandr Lukashenka said on Tuesday.

Speaking to staff at woodworking company Rechytsadrew in Rechytsa, Homyel region, Mr. Lukashenka described this year as "decisive." "Speaking frankly, we have simply been driven into a corner. We will find no explanations," he said.

"After we help people earn this salary, let them make noise, walk around, shout. Then it will be their turn to make some moves. But we should help them earn this minimum."

"Next year people will not tolerate such a situation in the country and they will be right not to," he warned.

Mr. Lukashenka avoided referring to the pay target in dollar terms throughout the speech.

He had repeatedly demanded that the average monthly pay should be increased to $500 this year.