On February 9, 2022, Lukashenko signed a decree “On retirement and conscription into the reserve military service, service in the reserve”. According to the decree, from February to late May 2022, they will call up to the army 18-year-olds, who have no right to deferment, citizens from 18 to 27, who have lost the right to deferment. Freshers of agricultural higher educational institutions, who have the right to deferment a call-up for further education and are willing to serve, will be drafted into the reserves. But this year, it’s dangerous to go into the army – and Belarusians understand that. Even though Belarus does not officially take part in the war in Ukraine, one cannot rule out that conscripts may be secret to fight as Putin’s troops under the guise of military exercises.

Information on how to avoid conscription is once again becoming relevant for Belarusian boys. After all, according to a Chattam House poll conducted in March this year, only 3 per cent of Belarusians are willing to fight on the side of Russia. 42 per cent of respondents believe Belarus is involved in the conflict on Russia’s side. 67 per cent of the respondents say Russia should stop using Belarus to shell Ukrainian territory. 39 per cent believe that Russia should immediately withdraw its troops from the Belarusian territory. This data allows us to be sure that young Belarusian men today do not want to become cannon fodder for a dictator.

It’s becoming more and more difficult to avoid military service every year, but there are still loopholes in the law. These are diseases that are not sent to the army, the presence of a pregnant wife, a child under three years old, three children, parents and close relatives with disabilities. But even if a conscript does not have these grounds, it is still possible to find options not to go into the army. Or not to take the oath in case the military recruitment office still managed to find a conscript. We will tell how it can be done legally in a separate article published on our website in the framework of the “NO means NO” campaign.

Belarusians are so opposed to Lukashenko’s idea of war against Ukraine that they join peace initiatives abroad. Many of them work as volunteers at the Pobach warehouse in Warsaw, organised by the “Our House” and DAR initiatives. Some help refugees get from the border to European cities, some take aid to Ukraine across the border. Some are willing to spend part of their salaries on humanitarian aid, food and hygiene items, while others buy bullet-proof waistcoats for soldiers. And we are glad that Belarusian men are making a civilised choice and are willing to help Ukrainians rather than kill them.

As part of the “NO means NO” campaign, we negotiate with European states to determine what status men who receive military summonses will have. Lithuania and Latvia have already agreed to give political asylum to Belarusians when they receive a summons. That is why we earnestly ask Belarusian guys not to go to war against our neighbours – Ukrainians, as Lukashenko and Putin want. It is a war of dictators, not of the people.

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