KGB Watches Foreign Trips of Belarusian Students

2008 2008-01-08T21:33:14+0200 1970-01-01T03:00:00+0300 en The Human Rights Center “Viasna” The Human Rights Center “Viasna”
The Human Rights Center “Viasna”

Agents of the KGB are interested in foreign trips of Belarusian students. They phone activists of youth democratic movement and offer them to meet in their offices or in the street.

Tatsina Tyshkevich, student of the Belarusian State University of Physical Culture, activist of the civil campaign Jeans – for Freedom! said to RFE/RL that a KGB agent phoned her and offered to meet:

‘A KGB agent phoned me and introduced himself as Vadzim Piskunou only after I asked him. He said he needed to speak with me about my trips abroad. He even offered to meet somewhere outdoors, if I had little time. I was in Poland, Lithuania and Ukraine during this year. I understand the KGB agents are interested in this issue, because the main participants of such events are the youth.’

Last May Tatsiana Tyshkevich was beaten up by riot police during dispersal of the action of protest against repeal of benefits. She was beaten again when the action of solidarity with families of missing people and political prisoners was cracked down on 16 August. Tatsiana got to hospital with brain concussion, beatings, nephritis. The girl is a second year student of the Belarusian State University of Physical Culture. She is going to be an equestrianism trainer.

Last year Tatsiana visited Ukraine, Lithuania and Poland. She said another KGB agent tried to learn information from her friend.

‘Recently a KGB agent phoned my friend and offered her to meet. He introduced himself as Andrei. He didn’t say his surname, but suggested to come to the staff entrance of the KGB building, where he would meet her, or to the office 17 on the second floor,’ Tatsiana said.

Nasta Aleksandrovich, activist of the youth of the Belarusian Popular Front (BPF), said to RFE/RL the KGB agents tried to establish contacts with new-comers, who have recently become members of democratic youth organizations.

‘Different training seminars for activists of Belarusian opposition are organized. The secret services know about it. Of course, they are interested in themes and participants of the seminars. The KGB agents are looking for easy sources of information. They have such practice: search for new people and talk with them. These talks can be held in educational establishments, as it was with activists of the youth of the BPF, or at the airport. They asked about the theme of the seminar and about what they had done abroad,’ the girl said.

There is a practice in the state universities, according to which a student must receive permission to travel abroad from the deanery. If a pupil of a school wants to go abroad, a school master should give him a similar permission. Besides, a junior isn’t allowed abroad if he has no note from his parents recorded by a notary.