It turns out, there are secret groups of people in Belarus, that are protected from being conscripted for compulsory military service, and they are exempted from it by the order of Lukashenka. One such groups has been accidentally discovered by journalists, and it consists of priests. Now, we need to understand who makes part of other groups.
Here is a typical decree of Aliaksandr Lukashenka about conscription of the youth, this is the part which is publicly available. There is no word that military conscription and enlistment offices must exempt from conscription anyone except for those mentioned in the law of the Republic of Belarus “On military duty and military service” 1914-XІІ dated November 5,1992.
However, on closer examination, it can be detected that what is open to the public eye is not actually the decree, but only an “Extract” from it. Obviously, the complete text is intended only for office use. It turns out, there is a list of certain groups of the population, representatives of which are exempted from military service by a personal decision of Lukashenka.
Every untruth is revealed sooner or later. The recent case with a young priest from Navagrudak, almost drafted into the army, unexpectedly revealed an interesting fact: it turned out, they do not draft Orthodox and Catholic priests and seminary students. Even into non-combatant units, where there is no need to take up arms.
Let me recall that story. On May 22, 2023, the Catholic information source Katolik.life reported that a Catholic priest from Navagrudak, Dzmitry Malets, had been called up to transport troops less than a month before the end of his age of conscription. However, the next day, thanks to the media noise around the situation, the military bodies changed their decision. As Katolik.life wrote, Yury Zheharyn, the abbot of the parish where Dzmitry serves, informed the community that Dzmitry Malets would not be drafted into the army. According to the abbot, in the morning of May 23, 2023, the vicar arrived to the military conscription and enlistment office of Lida, and was sent to Grodno from there, where it turned out that a decision had been made not to conscript the priest.
The young priest himself, as well as other members of the clergy, stated in the comments to the mass media, that in Belarus, the presidential decree about conscription to compulsory military service issued every year contains a clause about certain groups of the population that should not be conscripted. Among them, there are Catholic and Orthodox priests and seminary students. Although the conscription decree is of restricted character (for office use only), as far back as in 2018, the press service of the Ministry of Defense of the Republic of Belarus officially confirmed the existence of such practice.
Of course, there is nothing bad in the fact that priests are not called up for military service. There are no military chaplains in the Armed Forces of Belarus as a matter of principle, and there are just no other reasons to make truly believing people take up arms.
Nevertheless, the situation brings another issue to the top: what other groups of the Belarusian population have been granted a tacit “protection from conscription” by Lukashenka? Also, what those groups have to do in return according to such a tacit agreement with the regime? It is obvious, that Aliaksandr Lukashenka is not a person who can do anything disinterestedly, and it is unlikely that “favor” can be returned by simple personal loyalty to the “chief of Belarus”.