July of this year has turned out to be particularly “fruitful” for the state’s reprisals against draft evaders. A resident of Chashniki District (Vitebsk Region) was convicted under criminal charges solely for refusing to serve in the army. In Belarus, such criminal cases have become an increasingly common practice.

Now in state-controlled media, this individual is referred to as “Citizen B”, with the surname undisclosed.  According to various publications in regional media, “B” received a summons to report to the military enlistment office during the conscription campaign. However, on the scheduled day and time, he failed to appear before the draft board. The state authorities deemed that he had no valid reasons for his absence.

In principle, he could have come to the military enlistment office of Chashniki district on any day before the end of the conscription period, but he never did. The situation was exacerbated by the fact that “B” underwent a medical examination and was found fit for military service. In other words, his “marching in boots” was guaranteed. However, instead of fulfilling this unclear obligation to his homeland, the young man went to the Russia.

But that didn’t help: he was forcibly returned to Belarus, where the court found “B” guilty of evading conscription and, based on Article 435 Part 1 of the Criminal Code of the Republic of Belarus, sentenced him to one year of imprisonment with a suspended sentence, provided that during the probationary period, the citizen does not commit any new crimes and fulfills the obligations imposed by the court.

Specifically, in accordance with Part 5 of Article 78 of the Criminal Code of the Republic of Belarus, “B” was obligated to pay a criminal legal compensation of 35 basic units, totaling 1120 rubles, to the state. As a result of his conviction, the situation regarding his enlistment for military service has become uncertain, as he has an outstanding conviction and theoretically should not be called up.

It should be noted that this is still a relatively fortunate outcome. In similar cases, draft dodgers often receive real prison sentences. But in this instance, it appears that “B” simply managed to buy his way out of the military service.

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