State Security Committee of the Republic of Belarus
Комитет государственной безопасности Республики Беларусь
KGB Belarus crest.svg
Emblem of the KGB of Belarus
KGB headquarters in Minsk, Belarus.jpg

KGB headquarters in Minsk
Special service overview
Formed23 October 1991
Preceding agencies
JurisdictionBelarus
HeadquartersMinsk, Belarus
Coordinates: 53°53′56″N 27°33′16″E / 53.89889°N 27.55444°E / 53.89889; 27.55444
EmployeesClassified
Annual budgetClassified
Special service executive
  • Ivan Tertel, Chairman
Websitekgb.by

The State Security Committee of the Republic of Belarus (KGB RB; Russian: Комитет государственной безопасности Республики Беларусь, КГБ РБ; Belarusian: Камітэт дзяржаўнай бяспекі Рэспублікі Беларусь, КДБ РБ, romanizedKamitet dziaržaŭnaj biaspieki Respubliki Belarus', KDB RB) is the national intelligence agency of Belarus. Along with its counterparts in Transnistria and South Ossetia,[1] it kept the unreformed name after declaring independence.

It is the successor to the KGB of the Byelorussian SSR, a branch of the Soviet KGB which operated in the Byelorussian republic. Felix Dzerzhinsky, who founded the first Soviet secret police, the Cheka, was born in present-day Belarus and remains an important figure in the state ideology of Belarus under president Alexander Lukashenko as well as a patron of the Belarusian KGB. It is governed by the law About State Security Bodies of the Republic of Belarus.[2]

The KGB has command over the Alpha Group as the main counter-terrorist unit, although they can be tasked to help the militsiya and other law enforcement organizations in anti-crime operations.

History

On 1 March 1922, under the auspices Central Executive Committee of the BSSR, a State Political Directorate is formed. In July 1934, an NKVD republican affiliate was formed in the BSSR. 10 years later, during a reform of the Soviet Ministry of Internal Affairs, the Committee for State Security of the Belarusian Soviet Socialist Republic (KGB of the BSSR) was formed, which would become an independent agency in 1978. On 25 August 1991, the Supreme Soviet of Belarus passed the Declaration of State Sovereignty of the Belarusian Soviet Socialist Republic into constitutional law, effectively declaring independence from the USSR. In September 1991, the KGB of the BSSR was renamed to the KGB of the Republic of Belarus, becoming the new national security body of the state.

In October of that year, the Supreme Soviet mandated by law that the State Security Committee is subordinate to the Supreme Council of Belarus. In order to ensure the security of the new republic, the government provided regulations to the agency in January 1992.[3]

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.[4] The KGB is formally controlled by the President of Belarus, Alexander Lukashenko. Human rights organizations, the United States, and the European Union have accused the KGB of secret police activities and human rights abuses.[citation needed]

Organization

The headquarters of the State Security Committee (Russian: Здание КГБ, Belarusian: Будынак КДБ) is located on Independence Avenue at the corner from Komsomolskaya Street. The building was built between 1945 and 1947 by architects Mikhail Parusnikov and Gennady Badanov.[5] The building was erected in the style of Stalinist Architecture and Neoclassicism. The left wing stretches across Independence Avenue to adjoin the neighboring House of the Minsk Mutual Agricultural Insurance Association.

Structure

Chairmen

Role in political repressions

According to human rights organisations in 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.[7] Against most of them, the sanctions have been lifted in 2016 following an improvement of Belarus–European Union relations.

On 2 October 2020, the European Union added former Chairman of the KGB Valery Vakulchik, as well as the Deputy Charimen, to its sanctions list.[8] On 6 November, Chairman Ivan Tertel was sanctioned by the EU as well.[9] These people are also subject to the restrictive measures by the United Kingdom,[10] Switzerland,[11] and Canada.[12]

The KGB Alpha Group was placed under US Treasury Department sanctions for their role in suppressing the 2020-21 protests.[13]

On 21 June 2021, the U.S. Treasury has added the KGB of Belarus and its Chairman Ivan Tertel to its Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons List[14] with the following motivation:

The State Security Committee of the Republic of Belarus (Belarusian KGB) has continually pressured and targeted the opposition in the aftermath of the fraudulent 2020 election. The Belarusian KGB has detained, intimidated, and otherwise pressured the opposition, to include Pratasevich. In November 2020, the Belarusian KGB added Pratasevich and another opposition journalist to its list of terrorists. [15]

KGB officers sanctioned by the EU or the US

Chairmen and Deputy Chairmen

Torture

Sector (Board) commanders

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:[17]

International activity

On 1 December 2021, US-based Meta announced that 41 fake accounts on Facebook and 4 on Instagram belonging to Belarusian KGB were removed. The accounts criticised the actions of Poland during Belarus–European Union border crisis in English, Polish and Kurdish languages, while pretending to be journalists and activists.[18]

On 10 April 2022, Meta reported that Internet accounts linked to KGB on the first day of Russian invasion of Ukraine tried to spread fake news about the surrender of Ukrainian army and flight of Ukrainian authorities.[19]

See also

References

  1. ^ "South Ossetian KGB Says Situation Could Get Out Of Control". Radio Free Europe. 1 December 2011. Archived from the original on 25 June 2020. Retrieved 22 February 2014.
  2. ^ "The State Security Committee of the Republic of Belarus". www.kgb.by. Archived from the original on 25 June 2020. Retrieved 3 March 2018.
  3. ^ "История органов госбезопасности". Archived from the original on 2011-07-06. Retrieved 2019-05-31.
  4. ^ "Belarusian KGB's new chief is Valery Vakulchik". DiploNews. 20 November 2012. Archived from the original on 19 December 2012. Retrieved 31 March 2013.
  5. ^ С. В. Марцелеў (гал. рэд) (1988), Збор помнікаў гісторыі і культуры Беларусі. Мінск, ISBN 5-85700-006-8
  6. ^ "Lukashenko meets with chairman of Belarus' Investigative Committee". Belta. 2020-06-11. Archived from the original on 2020-08-21. Retrieved 2020-08-22.
  7. ^ Поўны спіс 208 беларускіх чыноўнікаў, якім забаронены ўезд у ЕС Archived 2017-10-22 at the Wayback Machine - Nasha Niva, 11.10.2011
  8. ^ "Council implementing regulation (EU) 2020/1387 of 2 October 2020 implementing Article 8a(1) of Regulation (EC) No 765/2006 concerning restrictive measures in respect of Belarus". EUR-Lex. 2020-10-02. Archived from the original on 2021-09-18. Retrieved 2020-12-24.
  9. ^ "EUR-Lex - 02012D0642-20210621 - EN - EUR-Lex". EUR-Lex. Archived from the original on 2021-07-21. Retrieved 2021-07-24.
  10. ^ "Consolidated List of Financial Sanctions Targets in the UK" (PDF). Office of Financial Sanctions Implementation HM Treasury. Archived (PDF) from the original on 2021-08-12. Retrieved 2021-09-08.
  11. ^ "Searching for subjects of sanctions". Archived from the original on 2021-09-09. Retrieved 2021-09-19.
  12. ^ "Belarus sanctions". Global Affairs Canada. 2020-11-06. Archived from the original on 2021-09-02. Retrieved 2021-09-08.
  13. ^ "Belarus Designations; Iraq-related Designations Removals". Archived from the original on 2021-06-14. Retrieved 2021-06-14.
  14. ^ Belarus Designations; Issuance of Belarus General License 3 and related Frequently Asked Questions Archived 2021-06-21 at the Wayback Machine - U.S. Department of Treasury, 06/21/2021
  15. ^ Treasury and International Partners Condemn Ongoing Human Rights Abuses and Erosion of Democracy in Belarus Archived 2021-06-21 at the Wayback Machine - U.S. Department of Treasury, 06/21/2021
  16. ^ "Sanctions List Search". sanctionssearch.ofac.treas.gov. Archived from the original on 16 November 2017. Retrieved 3 March 2018.
  17. ^ a b c d e f g "EUR-Lex - 32012D0642 - EN - EUR-Lex". eur-lex.europa.eu. Archived from the original on 13 June 2021. Retrieved 3 March 2018.
  18. ^ "Facebook says Belarusian KGB used fake accounts to stoke border crisis". CNN. 2021-12-01. Retrieved 2021-12-02.
  19. ^ "META: КГБ Беларуси распространял фейки про капитуляцию Украины на польском и английском языках". reform.by (in Russian). 2022-04-10. Retrieved 2022-04-10.