Belarus is often referred to as a “police state” referring to the fact that we have the highest concentration of police in Europe. However, official information on the number of employees of the Ministry of Internal Affairs is classified, and the data in different sources differ. We tried to figure out how many security officials there really are in Belarus.

1442 police officers per 100 thousand inhabitants is the maximum figure that can be found. But there are other data as well.

Wikipedia writes that in total 98 thousand people work in the Ministry of Internal Affairs. The source she cites says that 87,000 of them are the police, and 11,000 are internal troops. In terms of – from 925 to 1042 employees per 100 thousand people.

Former Minister of Internal Affairs Igor Shunevich in 2016, in an interview on the Belarus-1 channel, said that the staff of internal affairs bodies is 405 people per 100,000 people. The same number is given by Eurostat.

So how many militia actually?

In October 2020, the BYPOL initiative intercepted and released a secret MIA document.

According to it, “the number of certified employees of the internal organs as of 01.10.2020 amounted to 46,128 units, excluding civilian personnel and conscripts of the internal troops.”

By the way, there are some other interesting facts in this document. For example, from it you can find out that out of 46 thousand people, only 2.5 thousand work in the criminal investigation department.

But 5.5 thousand in the Department of Execution of Punishment and as many as 11.5 thousand in the Department of Security.

But back to the concentration of security forces in Belarus. If we recalculate the data from the document intercepted by BYPOL, we get 491 employees per 100,000 inhabitants.

This number looks realistic. Of course, it will be much larger if you take into account civilian personnel, internal troops, conscripts, etc. But we suggest taking it as an average value and comparing it with other countries.

491 per 100 thousand – is it a lot or a little?

At first glance it seems that this is not enough, but let’s see how many police per 100 thousand inhabitants in other countries. Wikipedia writes the following numbers:

Even taking into account the fact that the data could be outdated, the ratio is obvious: 491 employees per 100,000 citizens is a lot!

The concentration of police in Belarus is higher than in most countries of the world. It is important to remember that:

1 Only a small part of the population participates in any action. At the largest rally of 2020, there were from 400 to 500 thousand people.

2 The figure “491” does not take into account the army, internal troops, conscripts.

3 Information about the exact number of employees of the Ministry of Internal Affairs remains classified.