The Belarusian Defense Ministry has failed to ensure information support for proposed changes to army service liability legislation. Provided that compulsory army service is among the key areas of work for the Ministry this year, reasonable doubts arise about the capacities of the military propaganda machine.
Virtually within a week, a bill proposing to tighten the rules of legal deferral from the army service liability has sailed through both parliament chambers. In particular, the bill envisages the granting of only one deferral from the service liability to complete education.
Changes in military service legislation are long overdue and justified by an objective necessity. Back in 2016, the Defense Ministry voiced problems related to conscription. However, despite the clear social importance of finding a good solution in this regard, the military authorities, having enough time, had failed to take effective steps to ensure the favorable information environment for the envisaged changes in the conscription rules. Instead, they created tension in society: over 10,000 people signed a petition against the proposed changes in one day. In addition, the Army again was in the focus of public debate with negative connotations.
The way the Belarusian military department prompted changes in the conscription legislation, has proved its unwillingness and inability to carry out a proper advocacy campaign in society and is likely to have numerous negative social, legal and psychological effects, including increased youth emigration and enhanced defiance by conscripts, undermining the army’s authority.