Belarusian authorities aim to enhance public and party mechanisms in ideological work
At a meeting on improving public administration, President Lukashenka emphasised, that anything splashy and bogus should be abandoned from the state ideology. The president is aware of low efficiency of the ideological apparatus and inconsistency between the funds allocated from the state budget and effects on public opinion. The Belarusian authorities have repeatedly criticized ideologues for the lack of a breakthrough in formulating the national idea. That said, independent media is unable to resist the influence of the pro-Kremlin media. Apparently, the authorities are planning to reduce the direct ideological control and to use more subtle mechanisms to strengthen the loyalty to the Belarusian government, including through pro-governmental public associations and political parties.
The Belarusian military authorities study and apply the experience from the recent armed conflicts, which allow parties to promptly organise and expand the force potential. Belarus is likely to continue the mobilisation exercises, inter alia, by drafting reservists from the Reserve Forces to deploy major formations (regiment, brigade).
A comprehensive combat readiness inspection in the Belarusian Armed Forces is nearing the end. A record high number of drafted reservists, circa 3,000 people, marked the exercise.
The mere fact that reservists were recalled for military service is not something new for Belarus. In previous years, from a few hundred up to more than 2000 people were recalled for the large-scale military exercises in Belarus.
In peacetime, a significant part of the Belarusian army units is downsized and is used as a training and mobilisation base for the deployment of a wartime army. Three of five Belarusian neighbouring states outnumber her in terms of population and military capacity. Theoretically, they are capable of starting a military action against Belarus without additional mobilisation. That said, it is critical for Belarus to be able to promptly recall additional conscripts from the reserve in order to deploy wartime sized military units.
International experience (Serbia, Ukraine) has shown that mobilisation is not an easy task. There are two major reasons for that: institutional, i.e. inability of the authorities to organize the recall and transport the reservists to the military units for military service; and low turnout of reservists at the assembly points. For instance, in some regions in Ukraine, the turnout among reservists subjected to the recall in 2014-2015 was only 43%.
Apparently, Belarus has made appropriate conclusions: during the combat readiness inspection in February 2017, the military authorities were recalling up to 900 reservists a day. The largest unit deployed by the recruitment from the reserve, was a battalion/division. In the near future, Belarus is likely to deploy larger formations (regiment, brigade) during the recall exercise. The organisational core of such formations could be the Joint Training Centre, the Military Academy or one of the weapon storages.