Belarus

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Republic of Belarus

The Republic of Belarus (Республика Беларусь) was formerly a socialist republic within the Soviet Union. It declared independence in July of 1990, although retains state ownership of the economy and is a member of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS). The Armed Forces of Belarus (Узброеныя сілы Рэспублікі Беларусь) was formed in 1992 from remnants of the old Soviet Armed Forces that were based in Belarus. Branches of service include the Belarus Ground Forces, The Air Force and Air Defense Forces (Ваенна-паветраныя сілы і войскі супрацьпаветранай абароны) and the Interior Troops. As a landlocked nation, Belarus has no Naval Forces. The Federal Police (мили́ция), Presidential Security Service (Служба бяспекі прэзiдэнта Республікi), and State Security Agency (Камітэт дзяржаўнай бяспекі, КДБ) all fall under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Internal Affairs (Міністэрства ўнутраных спраў Рэспублікі Беларусь).

Belarus was slow to adopt new uniforms, but has largely followed the Russian model with regards to outfitting the majority of its armed forces with a general purpose camouflage uniform. Older Soviet patterns were worn for several years, being gradually replaced by locally-produced versions of the 1990 3-TsV (VSR) and Flora camouflage, designed in Russia. With perhaps one or two exceptions, there are no truly unique Belarussian camouflage designs, but a fair number of the patterns worn by this nation have specific color characteristics that can usually be distinguished from similar patterns worn by other former Soviet republics.

Camouflage Patterns of the Armed Forces of Belarus

  • During the transitional period, and for several years to come, a number of the camouflage patterns designed and used in the USSR continued to be worn by the new Armed Forces of Belarus. Of these, the oldest pattern to see widespread use was the solnechnye zaychiki (sunshine rays) KLMK uniform, which has continued to be worn by some airborne and special forces units.

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  • Another Soviet-era uniform still in service with Belarus is the KZS or Kostium zashchitnoi seti, having a camouflage design similar to the KLMK but with a different appearance owing to its being printed on a loose-weave burlap-like fabric. These uniforms continue to be worn for training purposes, in particular by airmobile forces.

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  • The Soviet era 1988 tritsvetnaia kamuflirovannaia odezhda (TTsKO) or three-color camouflage uniform also remained in general service with some units of the Belarussian Armed Forces, particularly the VDV or Airborne Forces and special forces units (spetsnaz). Of the variations produced in this pattern, those commonly found among Belarussian forces seem to be limited to certain colorways.

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  • Airborne Forces of the Belarussian Armed Forces have been documented wearing atypical TTsKO patterns, some of which have also seen use with other former Soviet republics, including Armenia, Georgia and Moldova. Seen here are some camouflage designs worn by Belarus between 1991 and 1994.

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  • Belarussian versions of the 1990 3-TsV (VSR) or dubok (little oak) camouflage tend to have brighter colors than many of the patterns produced in Russia.

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  • Likewise, the Flora pattern camouflage produced in Belarus has a slightly different coloration to most of the Russian versions.

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  • Circa 2003-2004 peacekeeping troops from Belarus were issued a locally-produced copy of the two-color desert pattern designed in Ukraine. Based on the old Soviet 1988 TTsKO drawings, the desert pattern features light brown shapes on a sandy background and is worn by personnel serving in arid or desert regions.

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  • In 2008, Belarus followed the example set by Russia and introduced a pixelated camouflage pattern based on the old Russian VSR design. The pattern features very tiny pixels of black, reddish-brown and foliage green on a pale green background. It is presumed this will eventually replace all previously issued camouflage designs within the Belarussian Armed Forces.

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  • Belarussian elements of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO; Russian: Организация Договора о Коллективной Безопасности) have been documented wearing the same vertically-aligned pixelated desert camouflage design worn by Russian members of this organization, although the uniform appears to be worn on deployments by Belarus. [1]

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Camouflage Patterns of the Ministry of Internal Affairs

  • As with their Russian counterparts, some units of the Ministry of Internal Affairs (MVD) Police (Militsiya) wore a blue urban woodland-derivative camouflage pattern, including the Spetsgruppa ALMAZ. The version worn by Belarus features dark blue, mid-grey & light blue woodland shapes on a pale blue background. This pattern has been replaced in recent years.

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  • The current pattern worn by Belarussian Police is similar to the old version, but incorporates brown, grey & blue-grey woodland shapes on light grey background. This design has been observed on riot control and special police troops.

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  • Special Forces units of the Ministry of Internal Affairs (MVD) have been documented wearing a close copy of the US m81 woodland camouflage pattern. As with the Russian version, this is often called "NATO" camouflage. The pattern has also been observed on the uniforms of some general officers, probably as private-purchase items.

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  • A woodland-derivative pattern seen here is also worn by some Interior Troops of the MIA, reputedly as a kind of everyday uniform.

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  • The Internal Troops of the Belarus Ministry of the Interior have also transitioned to the 2008 issue pixelated camouflage pattern of the regular Armed Forces. This is primarily worn by conventional personnel, with most special operations units adopting less common designs.

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  • The Spetsgruppa ALMAZ of the MVD appear to wear the same camouflage design adopted by the Federal Border Service (FSB) of Russia.

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Camouflage Patterns of other Government Agencies

  • Units of the Border Guards of Belarus for many years wore the Russian reinterpretation of the old Soviet "sunray" camouflage pattern called Берёзка (Berezhka) or "birch tree." This pattern has since been replaced in recent years.

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  • Another pattern adopted by the Border Guards is this unique design, known colloquially as Kamysh or "reeds" pattern.

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  • The Ministry of Forestry is responsible for protecting this natural resource which covers 39% of the country. Members of this agency wear a pixelated camouflage design that incorporates black and dark olive shapes on a pale olive green background. This is the same pattern worn by the State Border Guard Service of Ukraine; there are at least two known color variations, both of which seem to be worn by the Ministry of Forestry.

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Notes

  1. Photo = copyright Vitaly Kuzmin 2017