A student of Vitsebsk Medical University refused to cooperate with the State Security Committee (KGB) despite the fact that she had been threatened. Hanna Papkova released a video appeal which reveals ways of informants’ recruitment by the KGB.
The impression is that nothing has changed since the Soviet times: a student is invited to a classroom where a plainclothed person suggests “having a talk” face to face. If anybody turns such proposition down chekists threaten them with potential problems. By the way, deans-offices are no bar to the KGB’s activities at the Belarusian universities.
In this case the issue was the explosion near Vitsebsk KGB building. The plaincloth man asked Hanna whether her acquaintances, political activists, were tied to the bombers. “He asked whether Siarhei Semenchukou could have been involved in this act and whether he has been engaged in propaganda activities”. But then the officer forgot about the bomb. “He suggested I should inform them of Siarhei and all his steps,” Hanna says.
“I don’t want to have any contacts with KGB officials; I just want to easily continue studying at the university,” Hanna stressed in her appeal.
One may quit cooperating with the KGB at any time, human rights defenders state.
“There should be no threats, blackmailing or pressure towards people whom chekists try to recruit,” lawyer Harry Pahaniayla says. “One has a right to refuse, moreover, people can inform the official’s authority of such firm acts, or make a public statement. Other days have come, and our secret services are not anything they used to be: the KGB is not likely to take vengeance on anybody for non-cooperation,” the representatives of the Belarusian Helsinki Committee.
If anyone tries to press you send a video message to us. The more public the case is the better the situation will end.