The Belarusian State Security Committee (KGB) is spotted in more frequently using dirty tricks against Lithuanians visiting Belarus, the Lithuanian special services say in the 2021 National Threat Assessment. The report is based on the information available before 5 February 2021.
“In the short term, the KGB is likely to resort to aggressive and intimidating methods against Lithuanian citizens as a reprise for Lithuania’s alleged role in inciting protests in Belarus,” the document reads.
According to the authors, KGB officers are deprived of permissive conditions to work under diplomatic cover in Lithuania, thus their operatives are most active when targeting and harassing Lithuanian citizens on the Belarusian soil.
“Officers from the Lithuanian police, the Dignitary Protection Service, the State Border Guard Service, judges, politicians, state and municipal officials, and employees of state-owned enterprises as well as journalists who regularly travel to Belarus are of interest to the KGB. Information collection on these targets is initiated as soon as they submit their visa requests,” the Lithuanian side states.
Usually, in order to recruit Lithuanian citizens, the KGB engages in blackmail, exploits personal vulnerabilities, staged or genuine incidents, administrative violations or attempts to lure into ‘honey trap’, i.e. it introduces its target to an individual cooperating with the KGB so that to lure the target into a compromising relationship and then use it for blackmail, the report says.
As an example, the Defence Intelligence and Security Service gives the details of the case of 34-year-old Tomas (34), a database administrator in a state institution. When he travelled to Belarus to celebrate a friend’s birthday in Hrodna, he met Belarusian girl Alena and accepted her proposal to go to her place. The morning after a Belarusian police officer stopped Tomas and mentioned that he was investigating a theft case. Shortly after, a man in civil clothes approached them and insisted on getting into a car parked nearby, where there was another person inside. The men introduced themselves as Alyaksandr and Hryhory and started to interrogate Tomas about his job, family and the purpose of visiting Belarus. They informed Tomas that he was the suspect of committing a crime and would be detained.
When Tomas asked to call the Lithuanian Embassy, Alyaksandr showed him compromising photos taken the night before at Alena’s apartment and threatened to pass them to Tomas’ wife. Hryhory suggested ways to avoid legal prosecution. In return, Tomas was asked to tell about his work, to characterise his colleagues and pass a copy of the database of Lithuanian residents. Upon his arrival to the native country, Tomas contacted Lithuanian intelligence, reported about the incident in Belarus and received necessary assistance.