Will there be a mobilisation in Belarus? What the authorities and the population say

Belarussian troops
Belarussian troops Sputnik / Scanpix

Belarusians who are required to perform military service will only be able to emigrate with the consent of the military registration service if the authorities approve amendments to the law on entry and exit from Belarus. Parliament adopted it in the first reading on 12 October.

50 armed people for each village

Leaving Belarus to live in another country will become more difficult if the Parliament and Lukashenko approve amendments to the law “On the procedure for the departure and entry of Belarusian citizens into the Republic of Belarus”.


The amendments will particularly affect conscripts and men under 27 years of age who are in reserve due to health reasons and have not served in the army. They will only be able to go to another country permanently with the consent of the Military Committee.

Continuing education abroad will be more difficult: you must serve in the armed forces first, except for state-funded studies.


The aim of these amendments is to reduce the number of people who receive a deferment of conscription and to “increase the number of conscripts needed to complete the army”, said Gennady Kazakevich, head of the Interior Ministry’s Criminal Police.

So far, draft amendments have appeared in the summer. On 12 October, it was adopted in the first reading, after which it is expected to be finally approved by Parliament and signed by Lukashenko. The amendments concerning conscripts will enter into force as soon as the approved document is published.


This is not the first news in Belarus concerning military service. Back in the spring, the authorities started talking about the creation of armed citizens’ sails and territorial defence. Officials explained that they aim to protect infrastructure and buildings (they did not specify from what). Lukashenko also said that groups of 50 people would be created at each village council and given weapons. However, the regulation of this issue is still under discussion.

At the beginning of October, Lukashenko confirmed the country’s participation in the war in Ukraine. He then announced the creation of a joint Russian-Belarusian troop group and the readiness to deploy ‘more than a thousand’ Russian troops in the country.


The mobilisation was not announced. However, in October, Lukashenko recalls that checks are being carried out on conscripts and reservists. Without explaining what he means, the Defence Minister said in an interview on 13 October that an anti-terrorist operation has been launched in the country.

How do the people of Belarus feel about this?

Mobilisation in Belarus is a hotly debated topic. At the same time, opinions and concerns about it vary widely. Some people do not believe that mobilisation will take place. Others agree with it.


The second group has very different plans. Some think they can serve on the home front or hide from mobilisation in the forest. Some plan to protest and refuse to fight. Some people are preparing to go abroad by themselves or with their relatives, also after being called up for military service during the autumn conscription.

According to a spokesman for the Bysol evacuation hotline, the number of applications for mobilisation is about half of what it was in the summer. They do not have exact figures: “These are mainly applications from Belarusians of draft age. Especially boys aged 17-19, asking what is waiting for them and whether they will be mobilised. There are also a lot of enquiries from those who are due to join the army during the autumn conscription and from those who are hiding from the army”.


Yes, they believe in mobilisation. We don’t know whether people are ready to fight, because those who are ready don’t write to us. But many are still afraid to go: they do not know where to go. Young people also lack skills.

In addition to the conscription planned for the autumn, reserve officers go to short-term military training camps.


“My nephew is from Belarus and recently participated in an exercise near the Ukrainian border. He said that a river was digging ditches near Gomel. He thought: if they hit them with missiles, they will bury them in those trenches”, said a man on a bus in Vilnius. He added that his nephew had recently returned home and was doing well.

Do Belarusians want to fight in Ukraine? According to the latest Chatham House poll conducted in August, 35% of respondents are against the war. However, 5% would like to fight on the Russian side and 2% on the Ukrainian side.


The poll’s results may be skewed by the fact that it was only conducted among internet users and by the high level of fear in society, the researchers add.

Will there be a hidden mobilisation?

On 13 October, Belarusian media reported that the mobilisation was planned but “hidden” – under the guise of a combat readiness check.


What does the opposition say? At the beginning of October, there was no information about a covert or overt mobilisation, explained opposition politician and former law enforcement officer Aliaksandr Azarov. He said that mobilisation orders are now being issued to Belarusians. Still, there are no specific dates yet, and there is no mention of mobilisation: “However, there are precise indications that mobilisation plans are being adjusted and measures are being taken to improve the army’s mobilisation readiness”.

Azarov stresses that there is no guarantee that people who arrive at training camps or by conscription will not be called up in the near future.


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