KGB agents are sorry 1937 remains in the past

2008 2008-01-30T15:36:49+0200 1970-01-01T03:00:00+0300 en The Human Rights Center “Viasna” The Human Rights Center “Viasna”
The Human Rights Center “Viasna”

Student of Polatsak State University Dzianis Liasun tells Viasna about the KGB attempt to recruit him.


Here’s Dzianis’s story:

On January 21st, about noon, when I was getting ready to my 4th exam, I got a phone call from deputy dean of the faculty. She told me: “Could you do perform a task, please? Come at 3 p.m. tomorrow to the office of the pro-rector for curriculum. They want to see you there.” “What is the reason?”, -- I tried to clarify. “I don’t know. They didn’t explain anything to me”, -- the deputy dean answered.


On the appointed time I was at the pro-rector’s office. I had to wait a bit – the very important person was busy. In ten minutes a young man of a medium height, with black hair, wearing a tie, entered the room. He told me: “Wait a minute, I’ll be here soon”. It turned out he was looking for an empty room for us to talk. In some time he came back and invited me to come to another room. I am not stupid, I had some assumptions why they invited me. That’s why I took a friend a long. He was at the lobby waiting for me while I was in the pro-rector’s office. Clearly, I asked my friend to join us, but the man who invited me said the conversation would take us about an hour and he should better go home. I insisted on him joining us, so the three of us walked to the office of the dean of law faculty. My friend saw where I went, and with whom. However, it was the two of us left in the room.


The man started the conversation by introducing himself as a KGB officer. He thought that would be enough for me. But I asked him to say his name. He said his last name was Kuraga. When he was saying his first name he stammered and I didn’t really get if his patronymic name was Uladzimiravich or Vasilevich. When I asked him to show his KGB card, he said he had forgotten it at home and I would have to believe him on his bare word.


“No, I don’t have to – I will not talk to you if you don’t show your documents. How can I talk to a person who I don’t know?!” He tried to convince me that I was doing a wrong thing, that my attitude to him was wrong, that he talked to me with respect and with good intentions, and I behaved insolently, because I went against the state that provides materially for my living: I study free-of-charge and receive a scholarship. I explained that my actions were lawful, and I only wanted my rights to be observed. As for education, I had to pass exams, and pass them better than other applicants to be able to receive education for free, and I do all the best to continue to receive the scholarship.


Then the KGB agent began to ask questions in which he was interested in. But he worked round to it. He asked when I went abroad during the last two years. I answered, he knew that well even without my answer because he had probably made a research before our conversation. Then he asked what I was doing when I was abroad. I said I was not obliged to answer such a question because that was my own business. Finally, he said there were grounds to suspect me of cooperation with the internal bodies of the countries which I had visited, that I passed some important information to them, i.e. to suspect me of espionage. He was seriously talking about that. I answered that such suspicions were stupid because I was the law-abiding citizen of the Republic of Belarus and was a patriot of my own country. I told him I had not broken the law and if he had any suspicions about me he should send me a summons to come for interrogation. Then he said in 1937 they would put me with my face to the wall and I wouldn’t even see who was interrogating me. “And you think this is okay. You think this is a good way to deal with people?” – I asked. He didn’t answer but immediately asked if I knew about criminal responsibility for activity on behalf of unregistered organizations. He opened the Criminal Code and started reading out loud some article. I told him I was not creating any unregistered organization and that article of the Criminal Code had nothing to do with me. Then the guy started to convince me that our country was under a big threat, that the western countries wanted to enslave Belarus by recruiting people who go abroad. He spoke about withdrawal of preferences, and that independent trade unions wrote complaints to the European Union about democracy violations in our country, and that led to the fact that the preferences were withdrawn. Our country lost dozens of millions of dollars because of that. He also said that by going abroad for free, I take the money from the pockets of ordinary people because the trips are financed from the pension fund, etc.


But what does Belarus have to do with financing of the trips, and why does he care about pensions and budget of other countries? Where is the logics and common sense?


Then the dean of the law faculty entered the office. The KGB agent asked him about the penalty for creation of an unregistered organization. The dean answered with a very confident voice: “from 15 days of jail up to the capital punishment! But one should start with 15 days – so, to prison. But it doesn’t really matter, what the term is. What matters is how a prisoner is treated in jail, because all conventions about ban on tortures remain to be only theory!”. This is what the dean of the law faculty said!


The dean left, and we the two of us left in the room. Again the guy started to ask the same questions: when I went abroad, what I did there… I gave the same answers. The conversation came to an end. Probably, the guy got tired because it lasted for two hours already. Then he insisted that I should not tell anyone about our conversation, he threatened me and warned he would call me again and invite me to another conversation.


I am telling you about our meeting not to make a PR for myself. I just wanted to share my impressions and give publicity to the event.