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Belarus' Military Doctrine 2016: Main points and changes

This week Belarus considered a new edition of the military doctrine. The task of preparing such a document was set a year ago. The foreign political situation in the world is changing rapidly. And it is necessary to react. This is the usual procedure and the result of this work was presented this week to the head of state.

The military doctrine has such new concepts as "local war" and "illegal armed group". The document now takes into account the events of the "Arab Spring" and a number of other armed conflicts in Syria and Ukraine.

Formations and units of the Belarusian Armed Forces underwent combat readiness check in mid-January. All regions of the country were involved. It is repeatedly emphasized in Belarus that the main feature of the check is complexity. Aviation was also on combat duty.

Recently, the global environment has been unstable. The number of armed conflicts has increased. Remember Iraq, Libya or Syria. However, shooting is heard not only in the Middle East but also in the neighboring Ukraine. And it is a bitter lesson for any country. In search of peace and tranquility, about 160,000 Ukrainians from the Donetsk and Luhansk regions came to Belarus.

The analysis of the current situation made it necessary to adjust approaches to integrated national security. Changes were made into the draft military doctrine.

The meeting to discuss the doctrine involved the prime minister, chairmen of the chambers of the Parliament, heads of the judiciary, law enforcement ministries and departments. Stability and security have been one of the main tasks of the state, and a condition for sustainable development of the country.

Alexander Lukashenko, Belarus President:
Any nation, especially our nation, has always had something to reproach their authorities for. Wages and pensions may be low, roofs are leaky or something else. There always be something. But with the passage of time some of these reproaches will be gone.  But the people will not forgive us if we do not give it security and not defend the sovereignty and independence of the country. Therefore, if the last ruble remains in the budget or in the pocket of the state, then it should be spent on the security of our people. There are enough examples. The most eloquent example is our brotherly Ukraine. Everyone there is dreaming of only one thing - peace. So we need to keep the peace in our land, ensure the safety of the lives of our people and protect that piece of land that we inherited.

The new military doctrine is a response to modern challenges and threats.

 The need to update the document was evident already in 2002. Over almost 15 years the situation has changed in the world and near the Belarusian borders, and approaches to armed conflicts have changed too.

Andrei Ravkov, Defense Minister of the Republic of Belarus:
This is the document that allows us to accurately track the challenges and threats that exist externally and internally and clearly respond to changing circumstances.

Oleg Lyubochko, head of the Research Institute of the Armed Forces of the Republic of Belarus:
We studied foreign military doctrines, the basic differences and we determined the main differences that Belarus can take.

The developers note that the main feature of the new document is continuity. There are no conceptual changes. For example, there remains a defensive nature of Belarus' military doctrine. 

It is clearly defined that the use of military force by Belarus is regarded as an exceptional measure.

Nikolai Buzin, deputy chief for research, General Staff of the Armed Forces of the Republic of Belarus:
Our state is accurately tracking the trends and the changes that occur in the world, monitoring and evaluating then and taking appropriate decisions.

There are some innovations, however. Particular attention is paid to the development of the defense sector.

The answer was sought to hybrid wars - a new military strategy of the late 20th century, which is a kind of symbiosis of conventional warfare, small wars and wars in information space.

Stanislav Zas, State Secretary of the Security Council of the Republic of Belarus:
Of course, emphasis here is more on information warfare. This is one of the components of present-day hostilities.

The discussion of the draft military doctrine was really intense. Following the meeting, the President endorsed the doctrine, which means that as soon as it is revised the draft will be submitted by the Head of State for consideration in the Parliament.

Belarus' Military Doctrine 2016: Main points and changes