Recently, the leadership of Belarus with great enthusiasm began to talk about having one of the most combat-ready armies on the continent, capable of repelling any aggression, no matter where it came from. Similar statements are heard from her southern neighbor, Ukraine, from which Belarusians are increasingly trying to protect themselves: they strengthen their southern borders, create new border troops, conduct numerous exercises and trainings, strengthen control over border crossings, etc. At the same time, in both cases, the words about the high level of combat readiness of the armed forces of the two republics, to put it mildly, are exaggerated - Belarusians, of course, have something to boast of before the Ukrainians and other post-Soviet republics, but they are far from Russia or the developed countries of the West.
The current state of the Belarusian army, according to numerous experts, is far from what could be called serious combat capability. Although Belarus and began to reform its armed forces much earlier than other republics of the former Soviet Union. True, in the 1990s, this was dictated not so much by the desire of the country's leadership to demonstrate its peacefulness to the world, as by simple financial problems that continue to haunt the Belarusian army to this day. During the years of independence, as a result of the reforms, the number of armed forces of the republic has decreased more than four times and today is about 62 000 people, which even by European standards is quite a bit. In addition, a significant part of the weapons inherited from the USSR was sold, which at the turn of the century even made the republic one of the world leaders in trade weapons. At the same time, the army structure was reorganized - instead of armies, divisions and corps brigades were introduced, which are believed to be better suited for conducting maneuverable military actions, as well as organized training of their own military personnel on the basis of the Belarussian Military Academy and various civilian universities. All this at one time made it possible to reduce budgetary expenditures on defense and, to some extent, retain its personnel - no matter how bad the country is, but the military, as a rule, regularly received wages and enjoyed various benefits. And the national composition of the Belarusian army was kept homogeneous, and inside it did not arise either national or religious contradictions. Apparently, this is why many experts believe that the Belarusian military today has one of the highest moral and volitional levels in the post-Soviet space.
However, we have to admit that, unfortunately, the positive moments in the Belarusian army end there. Today, the main problem that the military of Belarus has already encountered is the actual impossibility of carrying out more or less complete modernization of the troops. Simply put, the country's leadership, due to lack of funds, cannot afford to abandon the Soviet-style equipment that is already obsolete both morally and physically. In this case, absolutely everything becomes obsolete - aviation, Tanks, artillery mounts, air defense systems, etc., but on moral-volitional qualities alone it is unlikely to be defeated. All this not only weakens the Belarusian army, but also does not allow, as before, to earn on the sale of weapons. Today, buyers have become extremely picky and do not want to buy equipment 20-30 years ago. This is probably why, according to UN statistics, Belarus recently began to sell just a few units of old Soviet weapons, additionally trading in ammunition, the validity of which is running out.
Based on the information currently available, it can be said that the current military expenditures of the Belarusian budget are not able to meet the modern needs of the army. Today, the republic spends on its armed forces about $ 700 million, taking on this indicator 79 place in the world. For example, Poland, whose army is twice the size of the Belarusian army, spends $ 9,6 billion per year on it. If we recall that the Belarusian budget is formed in the local “currency” and compare the growth rates of military spending with the inflation rate, it turns out that investments in the army in Belarus at best remained at the same level. At the same time, it is still necessary to look for additional funds for the modernization of the army, since modern weapons are extremely expensive. For example, the cost of a C-300 anti-aircraft missile system can reach several hundred million dollars, depending on the modification, and a modern combat aircraft can cost $ 30 − 50 million. Minsk has nowhere to take such funds, and therefore Belarusians have been trying to find a way out of The current situation is when you really want to rearm the army, but there is no opportunity for that.
On the one hand, in Belarus, attempts are being made to repair and bring old weapons into a more modern form with their own resources. The enterprises of the local military-industrial complex not only repair and upgrade tanks, helicopters and airplanes, but also create their own weapons: the reconnaissance and sabotage tank 2 T Stalker, the Stilett air defense complex (together with Ukraine), the Skif anti-tank complexes "And" Hornet ", helicopter Mi-8 MSB. Perhaps the loudest event in this regard was the appearance at the Parade of 9 of May this year, the rocket fire system Polonaise, which was tested in the summer in China. By the way, the Belarusian president was offended by Russia, saying that “our ally, Russia, is not so active in supporting our aspirations”: “We’ll talk separately about this with the Russian president. But thanks to the People’s Republic of China, its leadership for this support. ” It is not reliably known to what extent the given MLRS is more effective than Russian and Western analogs, but it is believed that it allows to deliver a point strike simultaneously to eight targets at a distance of more than 200 km, which makes it no worse than other salvo fire systems.
All these developments, of course, do honor to the Belarusians, but still they are not able to fully bring the Belarusian army in order. Neither can one more “hope” of the republic’s Ministry of Defense — the so-called “territorial defense troops” created since the beginning of the 21st century: for the first time, the practical actions of the territorial troops were worked out back in 2002 during the tactical exercise “Berezina-2002” ". These are, in essence, civilians trained and trained in partisan actions, on whom, what is most interesting, they have serious hopes in the republic. For example, 1 of September was officially announced that "a number of regions of Belarus have expressed their willingness to proactively carry out charges with conscripted territorial troops in the areas of their formation, to carry out their training directly in the areas of the tasks." Moreover, only in the 2015 year, against the background of the Ukrainian events, the territorial defense authorities already took part in more than 40 events, especially distinguished themselves during the inspection of the system of strengthening the state border protection in the south and the territorial defense of the Gomel region. Simply put, the Belarusian authorities decided to plug holes in the combat capability of their country at the expense of ordinary citizens in reserve. And this once again testifies to serious problems in the state defense policy.
On the other hand, Minsk still considers it possible to modernize and strengthen its army at the expense of Russia and the budget of the Union State. At the same time, in the second case, the situation is not getting better every year - due to the worsening economic situation in the Russian economy, all SG programs are gradually shrinking, including in the military sphere. For example, funding of allied military-technical programs has already been reduced by almost a third: if in January 2014, 3,5 billion Russian rubles were allocated for these purposes, then in 2015 a year - only 2,5 billion. Although it cannot be denied that it has long been operating within the Union State agreement on the joint protection of the external border in the airspace and the creation of a unified regional air defense system, due to which the air defense of Belarus is considered one of the most combat-ready in the entire post-Soviet space.
Of course, military-technical cooperation between the two countries is primarily interesting for Belarus, which, as mentioned above, plans to re-equip its army at the expense of Russia. Therefore, it is no coincidence that Minsk has already announced the delivery of four C-2015 divisions by the end of 300 year. Moreover, by 2020, the Belarusians, through joint financing with Russia, are planning to purchase several additional Tor-M2 missile systems that are already in service with the 120 anti-aircraft missile brigade. In addition, the radio engineering troops of the country should also receive the new equipment: the Rosa radar station and the Vostok radar complex. That is, the Belarusian side in any case does not remain in the bag. However, it should be noted that bilateral relations in the field of military-technical cooperation are also interesting for Moscow. For example, in the Kremlin, they still consider it expedient to deploy their military facilities on the Belarusian territory, which, due to the existing integration of the two countries, will not have the status of foreign military bases. Thus, the creation of a military air base in Bobruisk has long been announced. And although the implementation of this project is rather slow, the organization of its own Russian air defense force on the western borders would have cost Moscow much more - about $ 5 billion, which is more than what is currently being demanded from Russia in Minsk. Yes, and the use of Belarusian airfields as objects of forward-based Russian long-range aviation aircraft today looks the most optimal. Therefore, Moscow has already stepped up its actions on this matter: on September 2, the Russian government decided to consider at a meeting of the Eurasian Intergovernmental Council in Grodno (September 8) a proposal to sign an agreement on a Russian air base in Belarus, which should be addressed to V. Putin .
In addition, the aspect of technical cooperation between the two countries, in which both Belarus and Russia receive mutual benefits, is also important: Belarusian enterprises of the military industrial complex for the most part are directly dependent on Russian orders, and Russia, in terms of sanctions and the loss of Ukrainian producers, should close the resulting gaps in the supply of defense products. And in this case we are talking not only about the chassis for the missile systems, which are produced by the Minsk Wheel Tractor Plant. Belarusians provide the Russian defense industry with spare parts for T-90C, T-72C and T-80U tanks, assault and infantry combat vehicles, artillery systems, anti-tank and anti-aircraft complexes, as well as close combat and small arms. In addition to this, in the spring of this year, from the mouth of the Deputy Prime Minister of the Russian Federation D. Rogozin, information was heard that the Belarusian Peleng should replace Ukrainian sights for Russian self-propelled anti-tank complexes Chrysanthemum.
The list of military-technical cooperation of the two countries can be continued for quite a long time. However, even without this, it is clear that Belarus and Russia are interested in preserving allied relations in this direction. Moscow needs to ensure its military presence on the EU’s eastern borders and in the process of “not blinding” in the process of tracking military targets on the continent: only in Belarus from all the post-Soviet republics, except Russia, has a missile attack warning radar located under Baranovichi and tracks the sky over virtually all of Western Europe. For Minsk, cooperation with Russian partners has a double benefit. First of all, this is an opportunity “for free” to modernize its army. Secondly, keeping at least some leverage in Moscow’s hands. The Belarusian authorities have repeatedly said that only thanks to them a peaceful sky is maintained over the head of the Russians, and therefore the Kremlin must spare no expense and continue to sponsor its allies. True, every year such arguments are becoming less and less effective, but in Minsk they continue to believe in their indispensability for Russia. But the value of such an ally for Moscow every year seems less and less obvious. Moreover, Belarusians will not be able to support Russia in the event of a serious danger: according to the information available today, in the event of military aggression, according to the plan, Belarusian troops will have to move closer to the Russian borders and wait for help from their ally. Such is the reality in the defense sphere of the Republic of Belarus, which is far from what local propaganda is trying to show everyone.