State Security Committee of the Republic of Belarus

The State Security Committee of the Republic of Belarus (Russian: Комитет государственной безопасности Республики Беларусь, КГБ, KGB; Belarusian: Камітэт дзяржаўнай бяспекі, КДБ; translit. Kamitet Dziaržaǔnaj Biaspieki, KDB) is the national intelligence agency of Belarus. Along with its counterparts in Transnistria and South Ossetia,[1] it is one of the few intelligence agencies that kept the Russian name "KGB" after the dissolution of the Soviet Union, albeit it is lost in translation when written in Belarusian (becoming KDB rather than KGB).

It is the Belarusian successor organization to the KGB of the Soviet Union. Felix Edmundovich Dzerzhinsky, who founded the Cheka – the original Bolshevik intelligence police – was born in what is now Belarus and remains an important figure in the state ideology of Belarus under president Alexander Lukashenko as well as a patron of the KGB of Belarus.

It is governed by the law About State Security Bodies of the Republic of Belarus. [2]

Major General Vadim Zaitsev, who was in charge of Lukashenko's personal security, was appointed its leader in July 2008. His tenure lasted until November 2012 and he was replaced by Valery Vakulchik.[3] The KGB is formally controlled by the president of Belarus, Alexander Lukashenko.

State Security Committee (KGB) of the Republic of Belarus
Комитет государственной безопасности (КГБ) Республики Беларусь
KGB Belarus crest
Emblem of the KGB of Belarus
КГБ РБ

KGB headquarters in Minsk
Special service overview
FormedOctober 31, 1991
Preceding agencies
JurisdictionBelarus
HeadquartersMinsk, Belarus
EmployeesUndisclosed
Annual budgetUndisclosed
Special service executive
  • Valeriy Vakulchik, Chairman
Websitekgb.by

Role in political repressions

According to human rights organisations, the United States, and the European Union, the KGB and its senior leadership play a key role in human rights violations and political repressions in Belarus. The KGB has maintained both the name, the symbols and some of the repressive functions of its Soviet predecessor, the KGB of the Soviet Union.

Several dozens former Chairmen and senior officers of the KGB of Belarus have been included in the sanctions lists of the European Union and the United States, especially following the brutal crackdown of peaceful protests that followed the allegedly falsified presidential elections of 2006 and 2010.[4] Against most of them, the sanctions have been lifted in 2016 following an improvement of the Belarus–European Union relations.

KGB officers sanctioned by the EU or the US

Chairmen and Deputy Chairmen

  • Stepan Sukhorenko, Chairman of the KGB in 2005–2007, including during the Belarusian presidential election, 2006. On EU sanctions list in 2006–2016; remains under sanctions by the United States.[5]
  • Vadim Zaitsev, Chairman of the KGB. According to the decision of the European Union, he is “responsible for transforming the KGB into the main organ of repression of civil society and of the democratic opposition” and for state propaganda accusing the protesters of bringing weapons to their rally.” According to the EU, Zaitsev “personally threatened the lives and health of the wife and child of former presidential candidate, Andrei Sannikov. He is the main initiator of orders for unlawful harassment of democratic opposition, the torture of political opponents and the mistreatment of prisoners.”[6]
  • Vasily Dementei, First Deputy Chairman of the KGB; included in the EU sanctions list after crackdown of protests that followed the controversial presidential election of 2006.
  • Igor Andreevich Bakhmatov, former Deputy Chairman of the KGB in charge of the staff and the organisation of their tasks, responsible for the repressive work of the KGB against civil society and democratic opposition.[6]
  • Vasili Ivanovich Dementey, former First deputy Chairman of the KGB (2005–2007); responsible for repressions against civil society and the democratic opposition, in particular after the presidential election of 2006 and in 2007.
  • Viktor Pavlovich Vegera, First Deputy Chairman of the KGB.
  • Leonid Nikolaevich Dedkov, Deputy Chairman of the KGB.
  • Nikolai Zinovievich Smolenski, former Deputy Chairman of the KGB.
  • Nikolai Konstantinovich Svorob, former Deputy Chairman of the KGB.
  • Petr Vladimirovich Tretiak, former Deputy Chairman of the KGB and Member of the Commission of the Security Council on radio frequencies.
  • Ivan Stanislavovich Tertel, Deputy Chairman of the KGB, in charge of economic crime and the fight against corruption.

Torture[6]

  • Colonel Orlov, Alexandr Vladimirovich, head of the KGB detention centre in Minsk: according to the EU, he was personally responsible for "cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment or punishment of detainees" in the weeks and months after the crackdown on the protests in Minsk on 19 December 2010, on the eve of the 2010 presidential election. He has been on EU sanctions list between 2011 and 2016
  • Colonel Chernyshev, Oleg Anatolievich; he allegedly personally participated in tortures of opposition activists in the KGB detention centre in Minsk after the crackdown on the post-election protest demonstration in Minsk on 19 December 2010
  • Lieutenant-Colonel Sukhov, Dmitri Vyacheslavovich, operative of the military counter-intelligence of the KGB; accused of falsifying evidence and using threats in order to extort confessions from detained opposition activists in the KGB detention centre in Minsk after the crackdown on the post-election protest demonstration in Minsk on 19 December 2010
  • Lieutenant Colonel Traulko, Pavel, former operative of the military counter-intelligence of the KGB, then head of the press service of the newly formed Investigative Committee of Belarus. He is accused of falsifying evidence and using threats in order to extort confessions from opposition activists in the KGB detention centre in Minsk after 19 December 2010. According to the EU, he was directly responsible for the use of “cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment or punishment and for denying the right to a fair trial”

Sector (Board) commanders

  • Yaruta, Viktor Gueorguevich, Head of the KGB Board on State Communications
  • Maslakov, Valeri Anatolievich, Head of the KGB Board of Intelligence
  • Shugaev, Sergei Mikhailovich, Head of the KGB Counter-Intelligence Division and former Deputy Head of the KGB Counter-Intelligence Board
  • Sanko, Ivan Ivanovich, Major, senior investigator of the KGB
  • Tolstashov, Aleksandr Olegovich, Head of the KGB Board on Protection of the Constitutional Order and Fight Against Terrorism
  • Voropaev, Igor Grigorievich, former Head of the KGB Board on State Communications
  • Volkov, Sergei Mikhailovich, former Head of the KGB Board of Intelligence
  • Zakharov, Alexey Ivanovich, former Head of Military Counter-intelligence Board of the KGB

Regional commanders

In 2011, commanders of the KGB in the regions of Belarus were accused by the EU of being responsible for political repressions in their regions:[6]

  • Busko, Igor Yevgenyevich, Head of the KGB of the Brest Region;
  • Gerasimenko, Gennadi Anatolievich, former Head of the KGB of the Vitebsk Region
  • Kalach, Vladimir Viktorovich, Head of the KGB of the Minsk Region and the city of Minsk, former Deputy Head of the KGB for Minsk
  • Korzh, Ivan Alekseevich, Head of the KGB of the Hrodna Region
  • Kuznetsov, Igor Nikonovich, former Head of the KGB in the Minsk Region and in Minsk city
  • Leskovski, Ivan Anatolievich, Head of the KGB for Homel and former Deputy Head of the KGB for Homel
  • Sergeenko, Igor Petrovich, Head of the KGB of the City District of Mahiliou

See also

References

  1. ^ "South Ossetian KGB Says Situation Could Get Out Of Control". Radio Free Europe. 1 December 2011. Retrieved 22 February 2014.
  2. ^ "The State Security Committee of the Republic of Belarus". www.kgb.by. Retrieved 3 March 2018.
  3. ^ "Belarusian KGB's new chief is Valery Vakulchik". DiploNews. 20 November 2012. Archived from the original on 19 December 2012. Retrieved 31 March 2013.
  4. ^ Поўны спіс 208 беларускіх чыноўнікаў, якім забаронены ўезд у ЕС - Nasha Niva, 11.10.2011
  5. ^ "Sanctions List Search". sanctionssearch.ofac.treas.gov. Retrieved 3 March 2018.
  6. ^ a b c d "EUR-Lex - 32012D0642 - EN - EUR-Lex". eur-lex.europa.eu. Retrieved 3 March 2018.

External links

Coordinates: 53°53′56″N 27°33′16″E / 53.89889°N 27.55444°E

2010 Belarusian presidential election

A presidential election was held in Belarus on 19 December 2010. The election was originally planned for the beginning of 2011. However, the final date was set during an extraordinary session of the National Assembly of Belarus on September 14, 2010.Of the ten candidates, incumbent President Alexander Lukashenko was declared the winner by the Central Election Commission with 79.67% of the votes. Andrej Sannikaŭ (Andrei Sannikov) received the second-highest percentage. After a protest was violently suppressed by riot police the night after the election, hundreds of protesters and seven presidential candidates were arrested by the KGB – including runner-up Sannikaŭ.Western countries decried the election as a farce and an egregious affront to democracy and human rights. The United States and the European Union called for the release of all imprisoned former candidates, but took no further action except a travel ban on Lukashenko. By contrast, countries such as Syria, China, Vietnam, and Russia congratulated the re-elected incumbent.

Alexander Barankov

Alexander Nikolaevich Barankov (Аляксандр Баранкоў, also Aliaksandr) is a Belarusian former policeman or army captain. Barankov made claims of corruption by Belarusian police, faces Belarusian charges of bribery and fraud, and was awarded political refugee status in Ecuador on the grounds of being persecuted in Belarus. Barankov was detained in Ecuador in 2010 and 2012 while Belarusian requests for his extradition were considered by the Ecuadorian National Court of Justice (CNJ). Both requests were rejected.

Andrzej Poczobut

Andrzej Poczobut (Belarusian: Андрэй (Анджэй) Пачобут Andrej (Andzhej) Pačobut, born 16 April 1973 in Vyalikaya Byerastavitsa) is a Belarusian and Polish journalist and activist of the Polish minority in Belarus. He lives in Hrodna, Belarus.

A correspondent for the Polish newspaper Gazeta Wyborcza, Poczobut has been arrested more than a dozen times by the government of Belarus. In 2011, he was sentenced to a fine and fifteen days in prison for "participation in the unsanctioned protest rally" following the 2010 presidential election. In 2011 and 2012, he was arrested and detained for allegedly libeling President Alexander Lukashenko in his reports. The charges against Poczobut received international condemnation, with groups including the European Parliament, Reporters Without Borders, and Amnesty International issuing statements in his support.

Charter 97

Charter 97 (Belarusian: Хартыя'97; Russian: Хартия'97) is a declaration calling for democracy in Belarus and a pro-human rights news site taking its inspiration from the declaration. The document – the title of which deliberately echoes the Czechoslovak human rights declaration Charter 77 20 years earlier – was created on the anniversary of a referendum held in 1996, and which, in the words of the organisation of the same name, declares:

"devotion to the principles of independence, freedom and democracy, respect to the human rights, solidarity with everybody, who stands for elimination of dictatorial regime and restoration of democracy in Belarus".

Belarusian journalist Pavel Sheremet acted as the group's spokesman at the declaration's public launch.Charter 97, as a citizens' human rights organisation based on the principles outlined in this document, is a non-partisan organisation which has organised protest rallies and has provided a springboard for other democratic movements in the country. It also maintains a website of news with a focus on human rights developments. The site's editor-in-chief, Natalya Radina, received the 2011 International Press Freedom Award, "an annual recognition of courageous journalism", for her work.On 3 September 2010, the body of the founder of Charter 97, Aleh Byabenin, was found in his house near Minsk. According to initial statements by the Belarusian government, Bebenin committed suicide by hanging himself. However, friends of Bebenin have rejected this, stating that there was no indication Bebenin was planning to commit suicide, and that there were no messages or notes left behind.

In the weeks following the disputed December 2010 presidential election – in which pro-democracy candidate Andrei Sannikov lost to Lukashenko, often called "Europe's last dictator" – a number of opposition protesters took to the streets, alleging fraud. Radina and the Charter 97 staff posted numerous articles documenting arrests and injuries to the protesters by state security forces. On 21 December 2010, the Charter 97 office was raided by agents of the State Security Committee of the Republic of Belarus (known in Russian as the "KGB"). Radina only had time to post "We're all at the KGB" on the site before being arrested and taken away.On 30 December 2011, Charter 97 fell victim to a hacking attack that deleted archives and posted false news articles to the site; it also suffered a denial of service attack.

Committee for State Security (Ukraine)

Committee for State Security of the Ukrainian SSR or KDB URSR (Ukrainian: Комітет державної безпеки УРСР) is a state committee of the Soviet Union and a regional predecessor of the Security Service of Ukraine, a republican part of All-Union Committee for State Security. After the adaptation of the Constitution of the Ukrainian SSR (1978), it possessed a ministerial authority.

Extrajudicial killing

An extrajudicial killing (also known as extrajudicial execution) is the killing of a person by governmental authorities or individuals without the sanction of any judicial proceeding or legal process. Extrajudicial punishments are mostly seen by humanity to be unethical, since they bypass the due process of the legal jurisdiction in which they occur. Extrajudicial killings often target leading political, trade union, dissident, religious, and social figures and are only those carried out by the state government or other state authorities like the armed forces or police, as extra-legal fulfillment of their prescribed role.

Femen

Femen (Ukrainian: Фемен), stylized as FEMEN, is a Ukrainian radical feminist activist group intended to protect women's rights. The organization became internationally known for organizing controversial topless protests against sex tourism, religious institutions, sexism, homophobia, and other social, national, and international topics. Founded in Ukraine, the group is now based in Paris.

The organization describes itself as "fighting patriarchy in its three manifestations – sexual exploitation of women, dictatorship and religion" and has stated that its goal is "sextremism serving to protect women's rights". Femen activists have been regularly detained by police in response to their protests.

Forced disappearance

In international human rights law, a forced disappearance (or enforced disappearance) occurs when a person is secretly abducted or imprisoned by a state or political organization or by a third party with the authorization, support, or acquiescence of a state or political organization, followed by a refusal to acknowledge the person's fate and whereabouts, with the intent of placing the victim outside the protection of the law.According to the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, which came into force on 1 July 2002, when committed as part of a widespread or systematic attack directed at any civilian population, a "forced disappearance" qualifies as a crime against humanity and, thus, is not subject to a statute of limitations. On 20 December 2006, the United Nations General Assembly adopted the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance.

Often, forced disappearance implies murder. The victim in such a case is abducted, illegally detained and often tortured during interrogation, and killed, with the body hidden. Typically, a murder will be surreptitious, with the corpse disposed of to escape discovery so that the person apparently vanishes. The party committing the murder has plausible deniability, as nobody can provide evidence of the victim's death.

"Disappearing" political rivals is also a way for regimes to engender feelings of complicity in populations. The difficulty of publicly fighting a government that murders in secret can result in widespread pretense that everything is normal, as it did in the Dirty War in Argentina.

KGB

The KGB (Russian: Комите́т Госуда́рственной Безопа́сности (КГБ), tr. Komitet Gosudarstvennoy Bezopasnosti, IPA: [kəmʲɪˈtʲet ɡəsʊˈdarstvʲɪnːəj bʲɪzɐˈpasnəsʲtʲɪ] (listen)), translated in English as Committee for State Security, was the main security agency for the Soviet Union from 1954 until its break-up in 1991. As a direct successor of preceding agencies such as Cheka, NKGB, NKVD and MGB, the committee was attached to the Council of Ministers. It was the chief government agency of "union-republican jurisdiction", acting as internal security, intelligence and secret police. Similar agencies were constituted in each of the republics of the Soviet Union aside from Russia, and consisted of many ministries, state committees and state commissions.

The agency was a military service governed by army laws and regulations, in the same fashion as the Soviet Army or MVD Internal Troops. While most of the KGB archives remain classified, two online documentary sources are available. Its main functions were foreign intelligence, counter-intelligence, operative-investigatory activities, guarding the State Border of the USSR, guarding the leadership of the Central Committee of the Communist Party and the Soviet Government, organization and ensuring of government communications as well as combating nationalism, dissent, and anti-Soviet activities.

In 1991, after the dissolution of the Soviet Union, the KGB was split into the Federal Security Service and the Foreign Intelligence Service of the Russian Federation.

After breaking away from Georgia in the early 1990s with Russian help, the self-proclaimed Republic of South Ossetia established its own KGB (keeping this unreformed name).

List of counterintelligence organizations

Counterintelligence organizations and agencies attempt to prevent foreign intelligence organizations from successfully gathering and collecting intelligence against the governments they serve.

Natalya Radina

Natalya Radina (born 3 May 1979, Kobrin) is a Belarusian journalist and the editor-in-chief of the independent news site Charter 97, which publishes many articles critical President Aleksandr Lukashenko's rule.Following the disputed December 2010 presidential election—in which pro-democracy candidate Andrei Sannikov lost to Lukashenko, often called "Europe's last dictator"—a number of opposition protesters took to the streets, alleging fraud. Radina and the Charter 97 staff posted numerous articles documenting arrests and injuries to the protesters by state security forces. On 21 December 2010, the Charter 97 office was raided by agents of the State Security Committee of the Republic of Belarus (known in Russian as the "KGB"). Radina only had time to post "We're all at the KGB" on the site before being arrested and taken away.She was then indicted on charges of "organizing mass disorder", an offense carrying a possible fifteen-year jail sentence. Amnesty International named her a prisoner of conscience and demanded her release, as did the Committee to Protect Journalists. Radina was released on 31 January 2011 on the condition that she relocate from the capital of Minsk to her hometown of Kobrin. She was told not to leave Kobrin and to check in daily with police; in addition, her passport was confiscated, and she was forbidden to speak about her case.Unable to work, Radina fled from Belarus to Russia in March 2011. She spent four months in hiding in Moscow before receiving asylum from Poland, where she now lives. She continues to act as editor-in-chief of Charter 97.

In November 2011, The Committee to Protect Journalists presented Radina its International Press Freedom Award, "an annual recognition of courageous journalism". In her acceptance speech, Radina blamed "foreign indifference" for the continued dictatorship of Lukashenko and called on foreign governments to remember that "all of Belarus today is a big prison".

Security Council of Belarus

The Security Council of Belarus (Belarusian: Савет бяспекі Рэспублікі Беларусь, Russian: Совет безопасности Республики Беларусь) is an interdepartmental body with a mandate to ensure the security of the Republic of Belarus. It considers internal and external affairs of the state with regard to the interest of maintaining security and defense. The Council was established upon the adoption of Resolution +1249 on 15 November 1991. The current Secretary of the Council is Stanislav Zas.

Spetsnaz

Spetsnaz (Russian: спецназ, IPA: [spʲɪtsˈnas]; abbreviation for Войска специа́льного назначе́ния; tr. Voyska spetsialnovo naznacheniya; pronounced [vɐjˈska spʲɪtsɨˈalʲnəvə nəznɐˈtɕenʲɪjə] [English: Special Purpose Forces; or "Special Purpose Military Units"]) is an umbrella term for special purpose in Russian and is used in numerous post-Soviet states.

Historically, the term referred to special operations units controlled by the main military intelligence service GRU (Spetsnaz GRU). It also describes task forces of other ministries (such as the Ministry of Internal Affairs ODON and Ministry of Emergency Situations' special rescue unit) in post-Soviet countries. Russian special forces wear different berets depending on the branch of the armed forces they belong to. These include:

Ground forces and Airborne Troops (VDV) - Blue Beret

Russian Navy and Russian Marines - Black Beret

National Guard - Maroon BeretAs Spetsnaz is a Russian term, it is typically associated with the special units of Russia, but other post-Soviet states often refer to their special forces units by the term as well, since these nations also inherited their special purpose units from the now-defunct Soviet security agencies. The 5th Spetsnaz Brigade of Belarus or the Alpha Group of the Security Service of Ukraine are both such examples of non-Russian Spetsnaz forces.

Valery Levaneuski

Valéry Levanéuski (Russian: Левоне́вский Вале́рий Станисла́вович, Belarusian: Вале́ры Станісла́вавіч Леване́ўскі, Polish: Walery Lewoniewski) is a Belarusian political and social activist, former political prisoner. Amnesty International recognizes him as a prisoner of conscience.

Vasyl Meleshko

Vasyl Andriyovych Meleshko (ukr. Василь Андрійович Мелешко, rus. Василий Андреевич Мелешко, Vasiliy Andreevich Meleshko, April 26, 1917, Nyzhni Sirohozy — 1975, Minsk) was a Soviet war criminal who participated in the Khatyn massacre.

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