BYPOL on purges and awards in notorious anti-crime unit

Colonel Mikalai Karpenkau, head of the GUBOPIK. Photo:

Belarusian law enforcement agency BYPOL has published an investigation of the “most odious unit of Belarusian security forces,” — the Main Department for Combating Organized Crime and Corruption (GUBOPIK).

BYPOL noted that Mikalai Karpyankou “turned a once elite unit of the Interior Ministry into a ‘gang of criminals’. As a result, in the fall of 2020 he “was to quietly retire, and the unit itself was facing disbandment. But after his active participation in the suppression of protests, Karpenkau was promoted.

According to BYPOL, the new head of the department, Andrei Parshyn, began his work by “cleaning up the ranks”. He was interrogating personnel using a lie detector, and “additionally interviewing everyone personally to ascertain their loyalty to the regime.” As a result of such screening, about ten officers were dismissed from the central apparatus of GUBOPIK or transferred to positions not related to operational work, said the former security officials.

‘Ataka’ Groups

It is also reported that in August 2020, “Ataka” (attack) groups were formed under the direction of Karpyankou under the GUBOPIK, whose task was to “go out into the streets” to physically suppress and detain peaceful protesters. Four such groups included members of the Special Operations Forces of the Armed Forces of Belarus, in addition to the employees of GUBOPIK, said BYPOL.

Thus, in September 2020, representatives of “Ataka” took part in the break-in of Viktar Babaryka’s office, Maryia Kalesnikava’s kidnapping, pressure on the “feminists” and detentions during the Unity March.

According to BYPOL, in January 2021, there was a secret awarding ceremony at the GUBOPiK. The list of those awarded is classified. They were given six dirks, more than 10 medals “For Courage,” more than 30 medals “For Excellence in Keeping Public Order” and diplomas, said the organization representatives.