Belarusian KGB actively recruiting students in Poland

BelGazeta, Belarusian analytical weekly newspaper, addressed two representatives of the opposition, Andrei Dmitriev (25) and Vladimir Matskevich (50), asking them to comment the confession of the opposition Unified Civil Party (OGP) member Vlad Mikhailov (20) about his cooperation with KGB. On January 22, Mikhailov, the Belarusian student studying in Poland, gave an interview to the Polish Tygodnik Powszechny newspaper. He told that he started his opposition activity in 2004. He was collecting signatures in favor of the opposition candidates to the Parliament, distributed oppositionist pamphlets, created and edited a website ( of a relevant content. According to Mikhailov, he was recruited by the Belarusian KGB at the beginning of 2006. He told that: "That was preceded by half a year of contacts (between him and the KGB representatives): There also were threats, and blackmail, and phone calls to the friends".

Already in Poland, Mikhailov was informing the Belarusian KGB about activity and attitudes of the Belarusian students studying together with him. In particular, it concerned the son of the main opposition leader in Belarus, Alexander Milinkevich.

Mikhailov said that he terminated his cooperation with KGB in November 2006.

One of BelGazeta's interviewees, member of the Unified Civil Party (OGP) Andrei Dmitriev, commented Mikhailov's confession in the following way: "KGB has a plan of work with sources of information. Students are a solid material. It is easy to talk to them, and it is easy to threaten them". Dmitriev explained how the contact between KGB representatives and a student is being established. According to him: "Usually, the conversation goes as that of the nice people taking interest in situation in the country. They ask questions and listen to your opinion. The person realizes that there is nothing wrong with it, and it's just a conversation. The KGB serviceman, in his turn, uses sophisticated tricks, for instance, saying such phrases as 'You surely realize, what kind of problems that can lead to'. And everyone pictures problems as far as his imagination lets him". Answering the question, why some people agree to contact the KGB at all, Dmitriev told: "First reason is fear. Besides that, a person tries to live well in any place he is situated. In Belarus, people use to cooperate with KGB in order to avoid problems at their workplace or in the university. People want to feel themselves comfortable, therefore the KGB will always have its agents. The KGB servicemen use standard methods: 'we'll throw you out of the university; we'll fire your parents from the job".

Commenting Mikhailov's interview, the former member of the OGP board Vladimir Matskevich told that many Belarusian students studying in Poland cooperate with the KGB. On the other hand, he emphasized that such informants, given their young age, provide the KGB only with a very secondary information. Matskevich, who himself was the KBG recruiters' target at the beginning of the 1990s, assumes that the secret police works with young students not for the sake of information that they supply, but rather for obtaining an instrument of compromising them later on, as they proceed with their career. "A big man can grow up from a twenty-year-old guy - a scientist, a businessman, or an official. Some of them can be of use", Matskevich explained. He added: "It was told about Eastern Germany that every fourth citizen there was cooperating with Stasi in this or that way. I assume that this rate matches ours". Regardless of this fact, Matskevich noticed that the KGB is not capable to spy on everyone, "only leaders are under the supervision". Therefore, people like Mikhailov, who talk "about chasing them, are really nourishing the feeling of their own meaningfulness. They like to think that they are interesting for such a 'frightening' organization as the KGB".