547 days-or eighteen months-is the term of military service mandatory for every fit man under 27 years old. The Republic of Belarus still retains the conscription. Belarusian Armed Forces, formed in 1922, are considered a successor of the USSR army tradition. Its organisation and armament are the same as the USSR’s. The state proclaims the stictly defensive character of the Belarusian Armed Forces which do not participate in military operations.
The attitude towards military service in Belarusian army differed throughout years. Some see it as a waste of time; some find it a civil duty. Among Belarusians, there is a conviction that military service hardens characters and trains bodies, turning youths into genuine men. Conscription is held twice a year, in summer and in winter (after 2011 in autumn and in spring). The number of conscripts in Belarus is estimated ca. 48,000 persons.
Being members of close groups for a considerable length of time, soldiers develop a unique set of interpersonal and hierarchical relations, which is, by itself, a peculiar subculture.
Borisov garrison, Minsk region. 2009-2011