“The Military Balance – 2016” (annual assessment of global military capabilities and defence economics) has been published recently. The book is considered to be perhaps the most authoritative statistical reference book on military issues. It includes data on military capabilities, expenditures, prospects of development in the regional and country perspective.
However, when you get to the section dedicated to Belarus, the question how often the book’s editors update their database, is arising.
Thus, according to the book in Belarus there are 289,500 reservists with experience of military service in the past 5 years. This means that every year 57,900 people should resign from military service. Meanwhile, twice a year 10-11 thousand people are drafted for military service. 70% of them get to the national army, and the rest — the bodies Border Guard and Interior Ministry troops. In addition, about 2 thousand people are sent to serve in the reserve. Thus, on average 23 thousand are drafted for military service every year.
In addition to the conscripts every year up to 4 thousand people are called for military training from reserve. So, total is up to 27 thousand people a year.
In addition to the drafted people there are also those who are leaving the service: retiring, not prolonging the contract, being dismissed. In total, in the Ministry of Defense, Interior Ministry troops and the State Border Committee about 46-52 thousand people are serving under a contract. Over 60% of them must retire each year in order the desired amount of 57 900 to be reached. Meanwhile, on September 25, 2015 Defense Minister Anrei Raukou said that over the past five years 3838 officers graduated from Belarus military academies and 1884 junior officers were dismissed (49.1%). This means that a little less than 10% of the officers are leaving the service. Obviously, in this case we are talking about officers, who don’t prolong their contracts after the graduation from military schools. At the same time 5% of officers should retire per year. Thus, in whole up to 8 thousand people leave the military service every year. According to the logic, the rest should resign on the ground of guilt. And it must be over 30 thousand of such people per year. But this isn’t happening: the real amount is at least 70 times smaller. Thus, the number of reservists, mentioned in “The Military Balance – 2016” has been spun out of thin air. Even if we add to the statistics the dismissed from the Ministry of Internal Affairs (despite the fact that the size of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, given in the book, has nothing to do with reality), the numbers don’t make sense.
It is interesting to note that, according to the book, missile systems “Elbrus” are still in service in Belarus. Clearly, the editors don’t know that the 22th missile brigade, which was armed with them, was disbanded in 2005. The only missile brigade at the moment is the 465th one, equipped with missile systems “Tochka-U”.
Even more dubious is the data in relation to the Air Force and Air Defence Forces of Belarus. The data on 15 hours of annual flying in the Air Force, to put it mildly, has little to do with reality.
The data on the systems, currently being in the service, is incorrect. An-12 aircraft has been transferred to civil aviation, and Mi-6 – to museums and metal scrap recycling. And all this happened many years ago. The size of Air Force and the number of aircraft, given in the book, don’t correspond to each other. Thus, according to “The Military Balance – 2016” squadron of attack helicopters has as much as 4 Mi-24. And two assault squadrons — 12 Su-25.
What concerns Air Defense Forces, the structure described in the book has even less connection with reality. According “The Military Balance – 2016” in Belarusian Air Defense Forces two brigades and one regiment are equipped with anti-aircraft missile systems S-200, two brigades – with SAM “Buk”, two brigades – with SAM “Osa”. Meanwhile, only 377th anti-aircraft missile regiment was equipped with S-200, and now it’s rearming with S-300. At the same time only one brigade is equipped with SAM «Buk» (120th one) and another one is equipped with SAM “Osa” (740th one). 56th and 302th anti-aircraft missile brigade were disbanded in 2013. And the editors of the book lost one more brigade equipped with S-300.
Once again, it must be noted that our country is little known in the West, which is the result of low interest to Belarus even on the part of industry experts. And this is the reason for the presence of openly slapdash workmanship in various directories and ratings on Belarus.