Belarusian students dragged into Russian 'defense industry'

Minuses of the "defense industry" / @rubanau_collage

Minuses of the "defense industry" / @rubanau_collage / @rubanau_collage

A major conference on drones was recently held at the Belarusian State Technological University. Russians actively participated in it - Rossotrudnichestvo, the Standing Committee of the Union State and the Moscow Aviation Institute were among the organizers.

Ukrainian media say that Moscow uses such "conferences" to recruit Belarusian youth to work for its defense industry. We tried to find out if this is true. 


Cooperation of the university with JSC Peleng

The program of the conference does not directly mention military drones. It is about the use of drones in forestry and agriculture. But here is what immediately catches the eye.

During the conference, BSTU signed a cooperation agreement with JSC Peleng. The website of the university colorfully describes "advantages for young specialists" and the size of salaries of technologists of this company. But after Russia's full-scale invasion of Ukraine, JSC Peleng fell under EU sanctions.

The plant was included in the sanctions list for the production of components for Russian artillery and military equipment. The company produces guidance devices that are installed in anti-tank missile systems, for example.

Of course, it also produces civilian equipment, such as probes for remote exploration of the Earth. But it is obvious that the students are interested in the "military" - if only because the conclusion of the agreement with the university is praised on the website of the Belarusian military-industrial complex:

"This is already the second agreement in which the company and the best of the country's universities solve issues of mutually beneficial cooperation - in January 2023, a similar document was signed with BSUIR." 


Kazan University

The Rector of Kazan Technological University was the guest of honor at the conference. BSTU has signed a cooperation agreement with this university.

Russian media have great hopes for this university. Especially in the field of aircraft construction and design.

Valery Pobezhimov, the chief designer of Enix, said at the end of 2022 that his relations with the university had changed "for the better". At that time, it was assumed that students would do internships at the company.

The European Union has also imposed sanctions on Enix.The reconnaissance drones "Aileron" created here are used by Russia in the war with Ukraine.

Before the war, the university did not cooperate with this plant - at least, such a conclusion can be drawn from the interview of its chief designer. 

Белорусских студентов тащат в российскую “оборонку”
Enix /

"For the university, the current general interest in UAVs in general can become a shining hour. It needs a full-fledged center that would help with design issues, train engineers, train external pilots, set up its own production - in short, a design school," says Pobezhimov.

Do Belarusian students need such cooperation and internship? 

So that there are no illusions about "peaceful drones", let's discuss in detail what these "Elenors" do in war. Their missions have been described in detail by Russian journalists.

"We can hunt for units in motion, fix a target, follow it and inflict fire damage. We take out everything - both personnel and armored vehicles. Everything we see, we destroy," said one of the drone operators. 


Joint program with Moscow

During the same conference, BSTU and the Moscow Aviation Institute agreed to open a joint master's program in the field of drones. It is planned to last two years. One student will spend one year in Minsk, the other in Moscow. Belarusians will receive, among other things, a Russian diploma.

It is not directly stated that the graduates will be attracted to work in the defense sector, as drones are also used for peaceful purposes. For example, to detect forest fires. However, we can definitely say that opportunities are being created to shorten the path of Belarusians to the Russian military industry.

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