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30.11.2012

Business Insider: Belarusian army is mid-20th century prison photos 302

15:24, — Army

The Belarus army is a conscript force, burdened by ancient equipment and traditions instilled by the Stalinist regime of the 20th century.

The following photos were made public byAlexander Mihalkovichwho introduced them to the web at large along with a string of tweets from a Belarusian conscript called Max (not his real name).

Max's intention was to use his time in service to film army life, but it was difficult even keeping a point-and-shoot in his pocket to take the following shots.

Life for recruits is harsh, according to Max, and the officers above them rule with a draconian vigor that's almost as shocking as Max's claim that his salary amounted to only about $16. Max says he was with the 5th Spetsnaz Airborne brigade, which we wereunable to find reference to after 2008.

When we wrote AlexanderMihalkovich, the publisher, he responded with the following pictures, titles, and this explanation:

The Belarusian army considers itself as a successor to the Soviet army. It maintainsthe same archaic traditions between soldiers and officers.Equipment dates back to the 1960-70s, already out-of-date, is still used. Thesoldiers (even the ones from Special Forces) just clean the grounds of theMilitary Unit, repair old barracks and equipment most of the time. Army lifeseems like a children labor camp or even prison. Army customs arebased on old-timer soldiers dominating over recruits, forced to take up allthe work at the Unit. Young soldiers are able to tolerate all the humiliationsand hard work only because of army archaic traditions, the thought of themdominating over new recruits in future and teenager idealism.

Every man of18-27 year old has to serve 548 days in the army. Many people wonder if it is necessary and whether young men benefit, or it is just a waste their time. But the majority of the patriarchal society thinks that the army toughens up youngboys and makes them real men.

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