On July 6, 2023, in Lida (Grodno region), a 28-year-old man was sentenced to one and a half years of imprisonment for draft evasion. This may seem to be nonsense, because in Belarus, individuals can only be called for compulsory military service until the age of 27.

However, as it turned out, the state is not so willing to let people go if it believes they owe something to it. In this case, it was clearly decided to stage a show trial. The essence of the matter is that a resident of Lida (his name is not disclosed) in August 2021 received a summons from the district military enlistment office for a medical examination for further processing by the draft board.

At that time, he was 26 years old, which meant that he was still subject to mandatory military service under the law. However, as explained to journalists by the Lida district prosecutor’s office, instead of fulfilling the duties of cannon fodder in the Belarusian army, the young man went to work in Russia.

However, the state proved to be vindictive, and Russia turned out to be an unreliable refuge. The draft dodger was placed on an international wanted list, and eventually, he was detended in Russia in January 2023 and extradited back to his homeland. The culmination came when the court of the Lida district found the man guilty of draft evasion (Article 435, Part 1 of the Criminal Code) and sentenced him to one and a half years of imprisonment in a general regime penal colony.

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