The Belarusian authorities are set to address the issue of shortage of recruits. On June 25, opposition MP Hanna Kanapatskaya made public a corresponding draft bill which is to be put to a vote at the lower chamber of the Belarusian parliament.
The amendments that may be adopted are the following: one could obtain deferment of call-up due to studies only once; it would be impossible to enter a university after college or specialized school, or start a Master’s programme without taking a break for serving in the Armed Forces.
The bill also provides for blocking the access to public service to the persons who failed to serve in the Belarusian army (and did not have a serious cause). They will also be barred from developing career paths in the Investigative Committee, the Interior Ministry, Ministry of Emergency Situations, financial agencies of the State Control Committee, the State Committee for Legal Enquiries. Interestingly, the State Security Committee (KGB) is not on the list.
The fact of not receiving a military subpoena by a conscript might not be an excuse anymore if the amendments are made. If one fails to appear before the draft board or take part in reserve duty trainings, they will be considered draft dodgers. Such persons may be banned from leaving Belarus for any other country.
On Tuesday, petitions.by published an appeal to the House of Representatives saying that the would-be amendments are contrary to the Constitution. By Friday morning, it has been signed by over 10,000 people.
In February, Alyaksandr Lukashenka stated that the Belarusian army was undermanned. According to him, over the past 10 years the number of conscripts on record has nearly halved, and the conscription targets were not met in 2018.
“Top on the agenda is manning of the Armed Forces and other military units. Simply put, this is about the enlistment of our young people in the military service,” he told top military officers.