Analytical note: National Security and Defense Situation (February 2014).

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The most important events of the month. During February the topical issue was the prospect of assistance for the border troops of Tajikistan to accumulate the options for protection of the border with Afghanistan.

As it has been earlier suggested, Belarus shall provide material and technical assistance within the frameworks of the CSTO. We are talking about equipment and some technical means. It appears that Tajikistani border-men would have demand also BTR-70, which are withdrawn from the armament of Belarusian army but still could be used after definite upgrade. The CSTO traditionally estimates the dynamics of the situation in Afghanistan is disturbing.

We should individually focus on the prospects of forwarding to Tajikistan of the subdivisions of the 103rd mobile brigade. Yet there is no reliable information on this issue. But according to unconfirmed data a number of Vitebsk troopers may be forwarded to Tajikistan this summer. The duration and tasks of the mission are not known.

On February 13th 2014 on the basis of the Executive Committee of the CIS in Minsk they held a meeting of the expert group on the matter of development of the draft decision of the Council of the Heads of the Commonwealth states on provision of assistance for Tajikistan to enhance its border security within Tajikistani-Afghan line of outside border of the CIS member-states. In course of the events they have finalized and approved the draft of the document. Also considering possible aggravation of the situation one of the CIS states was suggested to initiate the issue of inclusion into the agenda of another meeting of the CIS Foreign Minister Council of additional matter on provision of assistance to Tajikistan.

Dynamics of the situation for a month. In last days of February the first watch of the Russian air forces pilots, which arrived in Belarus on December 8th 2013, completed its duty at the air base in Baranovichi. Initially it was planned that Russian crews shall be rotated during a month to remain in our country for a joint combat duty together with the air forces of Belarus to protect the air space. It is not clear what caused the prolongation of the Russian aviators’ trip. The same it is not clear whether the format of three-month stay shall become permanent.

Limited protests against foreign military presence continue in Belarus. This way, the BNF party arranged protests against Russian military bases in our country in 17 towns.

On February 10th 2014 the first stage of verification of combat readiness of the Armed Forced finished. Our Government yet refrains from public evaluation of the results, giving only ordinary statements. It is planned that, “…inspection of other components of the Armed Forced shall be performed in future”. Most likely we are talking about general purpose forces, and first of all mechanized subdivisions. 

On February 14th 2014 a meeting was held on the issues of equipment of the border services of Belarus with new samples of armament, military and special machinery. They approved the interaction plant between the State Military and Industrial Committee (hereinafter SMIC) and the State Border Committee (hereinafter SBC). The document provides engagement of the domestic MIC potential to equip the border control establishment.

Interesting are the requirements, which SBC imposes in relation to technical novelties: according to Head of the establishment the General-Mayor Leonid Mal’tsev there is a task to equip the parts of the state border with modern systems of protection, mobile, rapidly deploying complexes. The priority of the SBC technical equipment is given to the home-made machinery.   

Belarusian MIC keeps on developing the projects on home-made unmanned aerial vehicles (hereinafter UAV). This year they plan to have state tests of the “Burevestnik” vehicle for aerial aerial reconnaissance and surveillance. The developer, the Physical-Technical Institute of the National Academy of Science states about guaranteed communication with UAV at the distances up to 290 km.  In autonomous mode under pre-set program the flight range of the vehicle exceeds one thousand kilometers with duration up to 10 hours. The last parameter can be extended by half.

We should remind that the first home-made UAV with autonomous programmed route was Sterkh manufactured by Minsk Aircraft Repair Plant. Lately there has been no information about development of this project.

Simultaneously they reported that it was also planned to increase the flight duration by half for the UAV Grif-1 the developer of which is the 558th Aircraft Repair Plant. Already existing model of the unmanned vehicle shall be upgraded.

Despite political crisis in Ukraine the cooperation in MIC sphere between our countries goes on. Ukrainian Cabinet of Minister provided authorization for the plant Radar (Kyiv) to export military goods to Belarus. It was done within the frameworks of the Agreement between Ukrainian Cabinet of Ministers and the Government of the Republic of Belarus about manufacturing and research-technical cooperation of defense enterprises.

On February 20th 2014 the Ambassador of Belarus in Moscow Igor Petrishenko states that they worked under the contract for supply from Russia of four squadrons and a control centers for Air Defense Missile Systems (ADMS) S-300PS. It is not really clear whether it means that the supplies shall be not free of charge. In April 2013 the Minister of Defense of Russia Sergey Shoygu said that the armaments shall be supplied in actual technical condition. Belarus should pay only for transportation and repair of the machinery. Maybe they are talking about the contracts of machinery repair to be performed in Russia. Earlier in the end of 2013 they supplied a big lot of S-300 ADMS in Kazakhstan free of charge.

There are some reports about the character and the results of the Ministry of Internal Affairs (MIA) announced by the authorities. Yet there have been no fundamental transformations. They have eliminated existed in subdivisions free positions, secondary services, they partially redistributed manpower for the services having extra loads.

Special attention is given to enhancement of efficacy of applied training institutions. Starting from September 1st 2014 the High MIA School in Mogilev shall be transformed into an institute, allowing training the specialists exclusively on the basis of tertiary education. In order to stabilize the situation with personnel assurance the Ministry has intensified the work on career-guidance of youth. There are 178 classes and 11 groups for legal studies in schools, comprising about four thousand people. The greatest number of students is engaged in the applied program in Brest and Gomel regions as well as in Minsk.

In order to improve the quality of professional training of MIA employees and to reinforce the selection of candidates for the service they have extended the term to six months for primary training of future policemen, practical training has been enhanced.

Traditionally great focus is given to ideological events within training and development of the manpower. However intensification of ideological work gives no result in practice.

At the moment they also analyze earlier adopted decisions on optimization of the MIA structure. This particularly concerns the elimination of the MIA internal affairs department for transport (IADT) structural subdivisions of which were transferred to the Internal Affairs Departments of areas. It reveals that because of formal approach, the correct in its core decision of IADT elimination is mainly discredited by incorrect and thoughtless accomplishment. Thus elimination of the linear principle and division of the railway under the principle of regions have complicated operation, which resulted in reduction of rapidness of response of transport police for the reports about crimes and legal violations. In this respect a part of transport police functions becomes a burden of the local internal affairs departments.

Incomplete stuffing remains to be the problem of transport police: more than a quarter of positions are free in Minsk and Minsk region. Gomel region also has instable situation with personnel.

Conclusions. The fact that apparently urgent demand of Dushanbe in material and technical assistance to enhance protection of the border with Afghanistan has been under consideration for almost six months does not prove the growth of efficiency of the post-Soviet interstate associations. The CIS states demonstrate non-readiness (or unwillingness) to work in cooperation even in front of a danger. Probably this is the main difference in the ideas about interstate cooperation of the West and the former USSR states. It allows observing skeptically the prospects of another project of Vladimir Putin – the Eurasian Economic Union. 

Dwelling on the demand of mobility, which SBC requires from the prospect home-made equipment we should note that such technical means shall allow enhancing border security not only where there is already the infrastructure of border protection, which is not sufficient. But also it shall allow extending the activity of the border establishment within the territories, where SBC does not present yet. I.e. along the eastern border. The last events in Ukraine naturally are in focus of the law enforcement agencies of Belarus and specific conclusions have been drawn. We should remind that the factor of extreme transparency of Ukrainian-Russian border does not assist destabilization of the situation in the number of Ukrainian regions.

Statements about the range of information communication and the plans for state tests of UAV Burevestnik this year may appear too optimistic. At least the practice of Grif-1 UAV creation allows suggesting the probability of the project schedule shift. Open still is the issue of this project financing. 

Simultaneity of improvement of two unmanned vehicles Burevestnik and Grif-1 allows suggesting that the directions of their modernization shall coincide. Most likely we are talking about extension of composite materials in the structure of air frame and which is the most important – the use of new engines.

Kyiv Radar plant is one of the most advanced enterprises of Ukraine, which produces modern avionic and radar equipment for airplanes and helicopters. Its goods can be used in course of upgrade of the fighters MiG-29 and Su -27, as well as attack planes Su-25 of the Belarusian Air Forces.

In case of confirmation of charged supply of ADMS S-300 in Belarus by Russia, this shall become another proof that our countries are not allies in essence and spirit, and their interaction is only of forced character.

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