Investigation and search activities against the “participants in the conspiracy” lasted more than six months. Chairperson of the KGB Investigation Department Konstantin Bychek said this in the “Ponyatnaya Politica Plus” on the Belarus 1 TV channel.
“Currently, four detained persons have been charged with committing a crime under Part 1 of Art. 357 [Conspiracy or other actions committed with the aim of seizing or retaining state power by unconstitutional means] of the Criminal Code of Belarus. All of them have made confession statements and are actively cooperating with investigators,” said Bychek.
So far only the names of three detainees in the so-called “coup case” are known: they are Grigory Kostusev, Alexander Feduta, Yuri Zenkovich. Konstantin Bychek did not name the fourth defendant. He noted that the operational-search measures against the “conspirators” lasted for more than six months and added that all stages of illegal activities were documented and recorded.
“Now we can say that these persons, including Feduta, Zenkovich, Kostusev, reached a secret agreement on the forceful overthrow of the government, naturally, in an unconstitutional way. Moreover, their activities went far beyond a simple discussion in these conferences and chats. Zenkovich made concrete attempts to find, recruit, and bribe servicemen who were ready to participate in the overthrow of the government by force for a monetary reward. He was charged, he fully admitted his guilt, he actively testifies about all the circumstances of the illegal acts committed by him.”
The journalist also tried to confirm with the KGB representative that the three people who were at the meeting with Zenkovich and Feduta in Moscow are “legendary servicemen.” Konstantin Bychek refused to reveal the names of the three people, whom the Russian FSB called “Belarusian generals”, explaining this with the interests of the investigation. But he promised the public would find out about all the details later.
He also said that the Russian special services had joined in the operation to arrest the “conspirators” 12 hours before it began.
“I can say that from the moment of receiving the initial information about the situation, the president was briefed about it. Subsequently, the head of state was regularly, twice a week, reported on the dynamics of the activities. At the same time, the head of state personally coordinated, supervised, gave separate instructions,” added the head of the KGB investigation department.
On Saturday, 17 April, Alexander Lukashenko said that political analyst Alexander Feduta and lawyer Yury Zenkovich were involved in plotting the assassination attempt on him and his sons. “Then we found out about the involvement of foreign intelligence services. Most likely, the CIA, the FBI, I do not know which of the Americans exactly. We learned about their plans to come to Minsk and to organize an assassination against the president and his children,” said Lukashenko.
Later that day, the state-run ONT TV channel aired a report with a commentary by the KGB Chairperson Ivan Tertel that the special services “managed to prevent attempts of an armed coup in Belarus and elimination of government officials”. The official said that Alexander Feduta, Yuri Zenkovich and Grigory Kostusev were members of the criminal group. The ONT reported that “the conspirators plotted the coup for the summer of this year, June or July”.
The Federal Security Service (FSS) of Russia confirmed the information of the KGB of Belarus and stated that it had participated in the operation to detain Feduta and Zenkovich in Moscow. According to the agency, they arrived in the city after consultations in the U.S. and Poland to meet with “opposition-minded generals of the Belarusian Armed Forces.” At the same time, according to the FSS, seizing power by force in Belarus was planned for 9 May.
“Any suggestion that the U.S. government was behind this or was involved in the attempted assassination of Lukashenko is completely false,” said the U.S. State Department representative.
A criminal case under Part 1 of Art. 357 (Conspiracy or other actions committed with the aim of seizing or retaining state power by unconstitutional means) of the Criminal Code of Belarus. They face punishment from 8 to 12 years in prison.