COVID-19 has affected Belarus’ national security
By Andrei Parotnikau
Albeit the public authorities have announced victory over the COVID-19 outbreak in Belarus, facts evidence that the real epidemiological situation has a significant impact on the domestic security sector.
Recruits drafted for the military service in the spring of 2020, spent two weeks in isolation after arriving in their military compounds. The oath ceremony in June was held without relatives and friends. Dismissals and visits were banned. These measures will remain in place until the epidemiological situation in Belarus improves.
On June 9th, 2020, a Goskomvoenprom board meeting was held to discuss the results of domestic defense industry operations in Q1 2020. It was acknowledged that the closure of borders, the suspension of contracts with international customers and suppliers of components due to the coronavirus outbreak harmed the Belarusian defense industry performance.
A command-and-staff exercise on natural and man-made protection against emergencies and civil defense has been held in Zhodzina remotely, for the first time in the history.
The exercises on territorial defense in the Ostrovets district were de facto canceled. On March 31st, 2020 the formation of territorial defense HQs and territorial troops battalions started. On April 2nd, reserve officers were called for the military training to form a battalion, but in the afternoon of April 4th, the Defense Ministry reported about the completion of the exercise, allegedly due to achieving projected goals. After that, exercises on territorial defense in Lyakhovichy and Pinsk were held in the format of the command post, i.e. without the formation of units and a call from the reserves.
On June 5th, 2020, talks within the CSTO headquarters (collective forces) resulted in a decision to postpone joint exercises scheduled in 2020 due to the COVID-19 outbreak.
Despite official statistics, reporting a decrease in COVID-19 cases in Belarus (new and current), the coronavirus outbreak will continue to play a significant role in the national security operations in Belarus in the future.