What is the military power of the Belarus, compared to the neighbor states, in particular, Poland?

The reports like those from GlobalFirePower seems to be based on sheer numbers, but one thing is having 600 tanks, another, what are those tanks and are they maintained/operational?

I remember the case of Breivik, where no helicopter was operational (able to be used immediately), which in case of sudden attack usually means, your airforce is destroyed before it takes off...

Are there any publicly available studies comparing the military potential, based on the training level, maintenance, performance in the international military missions etc.?

  • 1
    Not sure, but i highly doubt they would survive an invasion from the east :O
    – A.bakker
    May 29, 2021 at 21:23
  • 2
    I think what you are asking for is a military analysis, such as a General might make for their political leaders. But this kind of in-depth analysis isn't public. For example if the tanks are not well maintained, that is not the kind of information that Belarus is going to make public. So the best answer that you will get is the Global Fire Power. Of course the biggest military power in Minsk is not tanks or bombs; it is the phone line to Moscow.
    – James K
    May 29, 2021 at 21:23
  • However the comparison with Poland is trivial. Poland has a much more capable military simply by virtue of its population.
    – James K
    May 29, 2021 at 21:29
  • 4
    You'd be much better off Wiki'ing Belarus and Poland armed forces than paying the slightest bit of attention to GlobalFirepower.com. Any system that uses mysterious "scientific metrics" to rate Japan #5 above UK #8 and rates Saudi Arabia #17 over Israel #20 needs to have its brains examined. It's really cat videos for 17yr old armchair generals. For ref? Poland's mil budget and personnel are massively bigger than B's, which uses mostly old Soviet era gear - detailed on wiki. May 30, 2021 at 1:13
  • @ItalianPhilosophers4Monica, Poland also has a higher gdp per capita, which might indicate higher personnel costs. But in the end the question is pointless; if Russia were to invade they'd try to subvert the military first, NATO members won't invade without NATO support, and Ukraine won't invade, period.
    – o.m.
    May 30, 2021 at 4:24

1 Answer 1


According to the CIA World Fact Book, Belarus is well situated against its neighbors, except for Poland.

By the numbers, Belarus maintains 45,000 active duty personnel using mostly russian-supplied equipment. The country has a compulsory service requirement for adults 18-27 years old.

Importantly, they spend 1.2% of their GDP on military related expenditure.

Latvia and Lithuania are both lightweights compared to this with 6,000 and 16,000 active duty personnel, respectively. Both nations rely heavily on 2nd-hand, soviet-era military equipment although Lithuania has been supplementing its land systems with those provided by the UK and Germany. Both of these nations spend more than 2.1% of their GDP on military expenditure in order to achieve these levels, meaning Belarus has deeper pockets and, to quote Cicero, "The sinews of war are money, and more money."

The Ukraine looks big and scary, with 200,000 (more than 5x) the active duty personnel and a more extensive array of US, Canada, and UAE supplied modern equipment - but it's also just taken a big blow from Russia and is likely to be in a poor stance to do much about Belarus without severely exposing itself to further risk from Russia.

Poland is the only credible threat nation to Belarus, and it presents a big threat in a number of ways:

First off, while it spends 2.2% of GDP on military expenditure, it simply has a much larger economy overall, and that 2.2% buys it an active duty force roughly thrice that of Belarus: 120,000 active personnel. Furthermore, as a member of NATO, Poland receives equipment from various western nations, and has strong military alliances that mean if Belarus throws the first punch, it's basically picked a fight with the United States and I'm sure we needn't run the numbers on that.

Poland, however, is unlikely to start the conflict with Belarus, either as it can find itself on the receiving end of diplomatic and economic pressures from its NATO allies who don't want to get drawn in. The recent rise of fascism in Poland is concerning, but the far-right coalition has yet to pull more than 10% of the vote, leaving it a relatively marginalized factor in Poland's foreign policy.

In short, as long as Belarus keeps its hands to itself, it can consider itself very secure. If it wants to start a shooting war, its only likely target is Latvia, since Lithuania, Ukraine, and Poland maintain a joint brigade-level force (HQ'd in Warsaw).

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