Today it has been 13 years since the disappearance of former Interior Minister Yury Zakharanka. On May 7, 1999 he was kidnapped by unidentified individuals. His whereabouts is still unknown. The criminal case in relation to Yury Zakharanka’s disappearance was opened, but the crime has not been solved yet. Every three months, human rights defender Aleh Volchak, a legal representative of the Zakharanka family, is notified of the prolongation of the investigation into the abduction of General Zakharanka.
The mother of the kidnapped politician Ulliana and his relative Lyubou live in the village of Vasilevichi (Homel region). Hardly a day goes by that without the women waiting for Zakharanka’s return.
«Everyone says that Yury is no more. But in spite of all that, we will be waiting until they prove that he is actually dead. Some people happen to come back home after twenty, forty, sixty years [of absence – Belsat]. We believe that [when] there is a change of the government we will know something, let it be good or bad, but there will be something new. Now the information is lacking because all of them [Belarusian authorities – Belsat] have a finger in the pie, all of them. Certainly, this is a political game: as they love power, they put people out of their way,» Lyubou, Yury Zakharanka’s relative, says.
Opposition politician Anatol Liabedzka was a close friend of the former Minister. According to Liabedzka, it is an open secret who organized the kidnap and probably killing of the influential general. It is the reason for the fact that the criminal case has still not come to trial. «The organizers, perpetrators and contractors of Yury’s assatination must remember that nobody is forgotten, nothing is forgotten,» the oppositionist says. My main challenge today is to make them get their bitters, Liabedzka adds.
General Zakharanka, who was 47 when he went missing, was Aliaksandr Lukashenka’s Interior Minister in 1994-95 but joined the opposition after being dismissed for allegedly misusing public funds. He became known for his effort to found an organization of police and army officers.