Military conscription faces new challenges amid the COVID-19 spread
By Andrei Parotnikau
The coronavirus pandemic has created additional challenges for the army conscription in Belarus, i.e. sanitary and epidemiological.
The COVID-19 epidemic has become No 1 topic in Belarus, entailing a broad demand for quarantine measures and cancellation of the military parade on May 9th to curb the spread of infection. Simultaneously, the spring draft for the military service has fallen off the public radar. On April 4th, 2020, the Health Ministry reported that the draft campaign in Belarus was ongoing and that neither the Defense nor the Health Ministry saw any obstacles to carrying out the draft in compliance with the approved deadlines.
In the autumn of 2019, 70,000 young men were drafted. Continuous preliminary coronavirus testing has not been arranged for the draftees, which has created preconditions for the infection to spread. Should recruits be infected during the draft or infected ones start the army service, the reputation of the Belarusian army would be undermined significantly, making void all previous attempts by the army leadership to raise the prestige of the military service.