On October 19, 2022, it became known that by Lukashenka's order a general verification of data on military registration of persons liable for military service all over Belarus (hereinafter – verification) is being carried out. The activities are planned to be completed by December 31 of this year. Based on data from open sources, we decided to analyze what was going on in enlistment offices in December.
The verification of data on persons liable for military service is carried out in 3 stages. At the first stage, the verification was conducted mainly with citizens working in organizations regardless of their form of ownership. At the second stage, work is carried out mainly with non-working citizens, as they were not included in the first stage of the verification. The final stage of the verification is the control appearance of persons liable for military service at assembly points or at enlistment offices. At the control appearance, some of persons liable for military service were given a mobilization order – a document, according to which a person liable for military service is assigned to a specific military unit. However, the verification will not finally end on December 31 – employees of enlistment offices still have to summarize and systematize all the information they have received.
Mobilization order / motolko.help
During the verification process, enlistment offices found it more and more difficult to search for persons liable for military service, because it was necessary to verify the data of the temporarily unemployed, as well as citizens who live outside Belarus or not in the place of their registration. Unlike those who work in organizations and whose data can be verified through the personnel service of the organization, there is no such an opportunity with the temporarily unemployed.
It should also be noted that all persons liable for military service in the reserve are divided into three categories. These are the main personnel, the reserve and the unoccupied. Using the city of Minsk as an example, the distribution of persons liable for military service into the above categories is as follows: 20%, 30% and 50%, respectively. And if earlier (before the verification) enlistment offices had planned to work only with the reserve (i.e. 30% of all persons liable for military service), then by order of Lukashenka the task was set to verify the data of persons liable for military service who belonged to the category of the unoccupied.
Next, let’s look at the main features of the verification, which were noted in December.
Presentation of the verification
There is still no adequate presentation of the verification, which we noted earlier. For example, the enlistment office of the Dziarzhynsk and Uzda districts called the verification «a planned large-scale event.» However, official representatives of the Ministry of Defense of Belarus claim that the verification is carried out by order of Lukashenka. This means at least that no one had planned to conduct such a large-scale verification in advance. But there are some representatives of enlistment offices who note that this year the verification is held within a shorter period, not within a year, as it used to be. And this is connected exclusively with Lukashenka’s order to conduct the verification.
List of draft dodgers – to the police
It should be noted that administrative (Article 26.3 of the Code of Administrative Offences) and criminal (Article 437 of the Criminal Code) liability is stipulated for evasion from military registration activities. Therefore, it is absolutely logical that enlistment offices take steps to bring draft dodgers to responsibility.
For example, the enlistment office of the Pukhavichy district threatened those who evaded the verification event to organize search and notification together with the police, as well as bring them to administrative responsibility. Similar information was received from Homel region and other regions of Belarus.
New approaches to informing persons liable for military service
A special feature of the December verification is the appearance of a kind of advertising. We are talking about both posters and videos with an appeal to pass the verification. The posters are actively distributed not only through Telegram-channels of enlistment offices, but also through propaganda resources. Perhaps, Orsha went the furthest, where employees of the enlistment office in a video congratulate the upcoming holidays and simultaneously invite people to pass the verification.
A poster about the verification of persons liable for military service / Military propaganda channels
In addition to posters and videos, enlistment offices also use other ways to inform persons liable for military service. For example, ads about the need to come to enlistment offices are posted on the entrances of residential buildings and in public transport.
Note on the verification of persons liable for military service in one of the buildings in Belarus / ZaMKADom
They also began recording analogues of the so-called «penitential videos» with persons liable for military service, in which they share their impressions of the conducted verification. Even local celebrities are involved to promote the verification.
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In public communication, enlistment offices try to appeal to the conscientiousness of persons liable for military service and ask for understanding of the verification measures taken. For example, citizens were asked to voluntarily come to enlistment offices before they receive summons.
At the same time, some of the persons liable for military service were subjected to ideological brainwashing. It is officially called «informing on the military and political situation around the Republic of Belarus».
We work 24/7
The best example of the unplanned nature of the reconciliation is how enlistment offices had to rearrange their work schedules and the verification process itself.
For example, enlistment offices allowed persons liable for military service to pass the verification at any of the nearest enlistment offices, not at the place of registration. In this case, the data are transferred to the enlistment office where the citizen is registered for military service.
In order to have time to verify everyone by December 31, enlistment offices switched to round-the-clock work mode not only on weekdays, but even on weekends and holidays. On weekends, different enlistment offices offered persons liable for military service to come for the verification on Saturday and Sunday from 8:00 to 18:00, from 08:00 to 20:00 (without holidays), till 21:00 (without holidays), etc. Summonses were given even on weekends. As representatives of an enlistment office emphasize, the main goal is not to bring a person to the enlistment office, but to clarify the data.
«Military Commissar of the Drahichyn district Oleg Androshchuk specifies that the district military enlistment office works 24/7 in order to verify the data of persons liable for military service. The staff of the enlistment office accepts visitors both on weekends and during non-working hours,» the Drahichyn district newspaper wrote.
In case of inability to appear, persons liable for military service are offered to call a military enlistment office and pass the verification by phone. It should be noted that the decision on the possibility of verification by phone was made by the leadership of the Armed Forces of Belarus. The verification was conducted even at workplaces. For example, at BelAZ, representatives of the military enlistment office conducted the verification right at the enterprise.
Verification of persons liable for military service at BelAZ / voenkomMO
Enlistment offices had to use more modern ways to search for persons liable for military service than summonses. For example, social network monitoring, which made it possible to contact a large number of persons liable for military service via Odnoklassniki, VK, etc.
Communication with representatives of military units
In December, representatives of military units, to which persons liable for military service were assigned, actively communicated with them. It was reported that personal communication allows a better study of reservists. The main emphasis in the work is to clarify the information about reserve officers assigned to complete the units. If it turns out that a reserve officer is not qualified for the position he holds, he can either be sent to a training session or another reservist can be appointed to the position.
The communication involved representatives of the 72nd Combined Training Center, the 120th Mechanized Brigade, the 2nd Special Police Brigade, etc.
Statistics and preliminary results of the verification
At the moment, the verification has not been fully completed yet, and the Ministry of Defense of Belarus will probably report publicly some of its results in January 2023. Therefore, the information below is still preliminary. However, it is not so bright as we would like it to be.
For example, on December 18, the General Staff of the Belarusian Armed Forces reported that over 85% of persons liable for military service had already passed the second stage of verification all over Belarus. As of December 9, over 80% of persons liable for military service were verified in Homel region, 90% – in Salihorsk district (as of December 7), 88% – in Slavharad district (as of December 24), etc.
Enlistment offices also reported on the number of persons liable for military service. For example:
- Astravets district – over 5000 persons;
- Hrodna and Hrodna district – 45,000 persons;
- Mstislaul district – about 3800 persons.
We should separately mention the statistics for the Hlusk district of Mahiliou region. As of December 13, the data of 1900 out of 2500 people registered as liable for military service in the district were verified (personally or by phone). Only 1116 of these 1900 people (59%) live permanently in the district. The rest live in other districts of Belarus (655 persons, 34%). Another 130 people (7%) live abroad (mainly in Russia and the EU countries).
The enlistment office also identifies a separate category of the verified persons, whose location it knows, but can’t communicate in person or even by phone for various reasons. There are 262 such people in the Hlusk district, of whom:
- 91 are in Russia,
- 25 are in the EU,
- 51 are somewhere in Belarus,
- 4 are in a medical-labor dispensary,
- 1 is in a pre-trial detention center,
- 7 are ill.
In other words, almost 10% of persons liable for military service in the Hlusk district will not even be able to find out from the enlistment office that, for example, mobilization has begun.
Therefore, we should take into account that 10% of persons liable for military service in the Hlusk district mentioned above may belong to the main personnel, the reserve, and the unoccupied (see the beginning of the article).
Based on the available information, we can make the following conclusions:
- The verification of military registration data can be interpreted as potential preparation for future mobilization in Belarus. However, there are no direct facts of the beginning of actual mobilization in Belarus yet.
- The sudden conduct of the verification (despite all the statements about its planned nature) in a short time is a lesson learned from the partial mobilization in Russia in autumn 2022. Representatives of enlistment offices also note that the experience of the mobilization in Ukraine is also taken into account.
- We can note that as the verification is completed, enlistment offices are becoming more and more flexible, making it as simple and convenient as possible for persons liable for military service. This applies to the possibility of verification by phone, as well as at any enlistment office not at the place of residence registration, work schedule of enlistment offices without days off, etc. Such non-standard measures are caused by the necessity to conduct the verification «up to the last person» at any cost and in any way, as well as by the tight deadline that was given for the verification.
- The verification itself showed the weaknesses of the current system of military registration in Belarus. In this case, the example of the Hlusk district is illustrative, where 10% of persons liable for military service can’t be drafted at all in case mobilization is announced, because the enlistment office won’t be able to contact them. Another example is the Voranava district, where many persons liable for military service work as international drivers, and, according to representatives of the enlistment office, it is almost impossible to find them at home. As a result, the percentage of «lost persons liable for military service» may be even higher, or, on the contrary, lower, in some regions of Belarus.
- The situation is worsened by the significant outflow of people of working and conscription age from Belarus, which began in 2020, and worsened after the start of Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine. On the other hand, thanks to the verification, the authorities will be able to get accurate data on how many «opponents of the authorities» (mostly males, since only medical workers are subject to military registration among women) have left the country.
- We should separately pay attention to the problem of residence of persons liable for military service not in the place of registration. The example of the Hlusk district (34% of those were identified there) shows that in case mobilization is announced or military actions start (with a general confusion, broken communications, transport communication, etc.) just over a half of persons liable for military service in the Hlusk district will be able to arrive promptly to the assembly points in village Executive Committees or military enlistment offices. This can significantly prolong the process of staffing military units, as well as units of territorial defense troops with reservists.
- At the same time, it is important to emphasize that first of all, reservists of the main personnel will be drafted for military service under mobilization. We should recall that they account for about 20% of the total number of persons liable for military service. Therefore, if the first wave of mobilization is announced, we can assume that it will be possible to draft the main part of the reservists.
- The scale of the issues in the military registration system will be indicated by the number of persons liable for military service who will ignore the verification, and whose data will be handed over to the police for search. An important indicator of the results of the verification will also be the practice of punishment for those who evade the verification. It is possible that due to a large number of such people, cases of bringing evaders to responsibility will be single, and they will try to ignore the situation in order to hide the scale of the problem. Or vice versa – to form public and high-profile precedents, so that others wouldn’t even try.
- In general, the verification is a «crash test» for the entire mobilization system of Belarus. Given the conclusions described above (it is possible that in some regions and in the whole country the situation may be even worse or better), we should expect some decisions aimed at adjusting the system of military registration in the near future after the completion of the verification and analysis of the results. The nature and depth of such adjustments will indicate the scale of the problems revealed by the verification.
The conclusions given above can still be considered preliminary, since the verification will continue for almost a week. Its completion will be followed by analysis and, possibly, adjustment of the military registration system. Then it will be possible to draw more complete and accurate conclusions.
На русском языке:
10% даже не узнают о мобилизации, половина резервистов живет не по прописке и поиск через «Одноклассники»: как происходила сверка данных воинского учета в декабре?