New Market Research Report: Belarus Defence & Security Report 2014

From: Fast Market Research, Inc.
Published: Wed Dec 04 2013

In 2014 we expect that Belarus will continue to align its security and economy with Russia, even though Belarus has entered into increasing amounts of talks with Western European nations. That said the two countries are currently embroiled in a dispute over the break-up and a joint venture in the potash industry, which has resulted in Russia taking punitive action which will damage the Belarusian economy.

President Alexander Lukashenko will remain in power over the long-term as opposition parties remain ineffective under state repression. In the 2012 parliamentary election, no opposition candidates were elected and a number of parties boycotted proceedings. The Belarusian military will remain well funded, but its hardware is out of date and due to conscription and Russian troops within the military, its effectiveness is questionable. The Belarusian arms sector will continue to exploit its comparative advantage of updated Soviet era weapons systems and commutation devices. The arms trade which is legitimate is not large, although many think Belarus undertake black or grey market trading with countries deemed dangerous by the international community.

Full Report Details at

Key Forecasts:

* For 2014, BMI expects Belarusian defence expenditure to be at US$1.27bn, a 17.3% increase on the US $1.08bn we estimate was spent in 2013
* Of its 9.46mn population, Belarus will have around 4.6mn men and women aged between 16 and 49 available for military service in 2014, approximately 48.7%.
* With no real likelihood of major deployments or need for recruitment drives on the horizon, troop levels are likely to stay stagnant.

Major Developments:

* Following the break-up of the Belarus Potash Corporation and the subsequent arrest of the Uralkali chief executive Vladislav Baumgertner by the Belarus Investigative Committee, the political and economic relationship between Russia and Belarus is set to remain extremely strained. Traditionally Belarus' closest ally, Russia has already reduced crucial oil supplies and we do not rule out further punitive action.
* Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu announced that work to establish a Russian air force base in Belarus would begin later in the year, with an air force regiment set to be deployed by 2015. The planned base would be near the city of Baranovichi in Western Belarus, only 100 miles from the Polish border. The base would be viewed by the EU and NATO as a potential Russian threat to Europe, and would likely be met with a strengthening of NATO's eastern border.
* China and Belarus' defence cooperation is increasing, with China helping to build up Belarus' capabilities and the two countries furthering their defence exchanges.

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