viasna on patreon

KGB trying to recruit freelance journalist Zmitser Lupach

2015 2015-07-09T16:36:57+0300 2015-07-09T16:36:57+0300 en The Human Rights Center “Viasna” The Human Rights Center “Viasna”
The Human Rights Center “Viasna”
Dzmitry Lupach

Dzmitry Lupach

Freelance journalist Zmitser Lupach told how KGB officers tried to make him cooperate with them. At first he decided to simply ignore their proposals, but they didn't let him alone. Therefore, Mr. Lupach decided to appeal to journalists and human rights activists.

He said he had several meetings with KGBB officers from Minsk and Hlybokaje:

“It all started on June 25 from summons to the financial police. Shortly before this I had problems with the tax inspection and was even sentenced to a fine. I have paid it by now, whereas at that time I was very surprised with that summons. There I was met by two people in plain clothes, who said they were from Minsk and came to Hlybokaje in order to meet with me. They introduced themselves, showed their IDs, and I didn't remember anything out of surprise. One of them started asking me wbout the trips to the Ukraine and my contacts with foreigners,” said Zmitser Lupach.

One of the contacts with foreigners took place in June. For it Mr. Lupach was charged with working for foreign media without accreditation (violation of Art. 22.9 of the Code of Administrative Offenses). Zmitser met with Poles, who came to the Hlybokaje district, and later an articles titled “Relatives of the foreigner, who had perished in the Hlybokaje district on September 10, 1939, have been discovered”. The trial over the freelance journalist was appointed on July 10, but didn't take place, as far as the case was returned to the police for revising.

However, instead Zmitser got new worries. “June 30, I got a telephone call from another officer, with whom we had met at the financial police. After a talk with Minsk KGBists there came the local ones. They started asking me about cooperation with the foreign media and warned me about the inadmissibility of violating Article 369.1 of the Criminal Code by presenting to foreign states false information about the political, economic and social situation, and so on, to put it short – the inadmissibility of discredit of the Republic of Belarus. They gave me the warning to sign, but didn't leave a copy. A KGB officer said they had much evidence of my cooperation with foreign media without accreditation, but they wouldn't give them publicity if I agreed to “help” them. I was proposed to inform KGB about the political life of the region, the details of the local activists' lives, inform about meetings with members of the Belarusian Association of Journalists and visits of people from other cities. The KGB officer didn't so much ask about it, he mostly tried to intimidate me, saying my wife, children and I would have problems if I didn't agree to cooperate with them,” says Zmitser.

At first he thought that the KGB would lose interest to him if he was giving no information to them. However, on July 9 the same KGB officer phoned him and offered to meet in an “informal setting”. Zmiser Lupach says he flatly refused to be a "stool pigeon" in spite of the threats. He decided to tell his story to warn friends and colleagues that they, too, can get into a similar situation.