For the first time in Belarus, a criminal case was initiated under the article on attempted coup d’etat. Tracking operation lasted more than six months. One of the detainees, Yuri Zenkovich, was associated with the U.S. special services. Chairperson of the KGB Investigation Department, Konstantin Bychek, shared the details of the investigation in a report on the ONT TV channel.
Konstantin Bychek said that “in fact, a coup d’etat was being prepared” in Belarus. According to the intelligence reports, one of the detainees – U.S. citizen Yuri Zenkovich – was associated with the special services of this country.
“He made attempts to recruit and bribe the military personnel of the Republic of Belarus and law enforcement agencies who are ready to participate in the violent overthrow of the current government for monetary compensation.”
According to Bychek, “meetings with servicemen, meetings with representatives of other terrorist groups, whose activities, including earlier, were suppressed by the State Security Committee, were documented”.
“We have registered two cases of transferring illegal monetary rewards to military personnel through secret operations,” he said.
The KGB spokesperson said that he could not divulge the details of the case, but promised that in the near future all the details of the carried out special operations would be made public, “the role and place of each participant in this conspiracy will be told”.
The arrests in Moscow were reportedly made with the permission of the Russian side: information about Yuri Zenkovich’s arrival in Russia’s capital came in March, after which the KGB contacted the FSS leadership to obtain permission for the task force to arrive in Moscow.
“A criminal case was initiated under Art. 357 of the Criminal Code of the Republic of Belarus – a conspiracy or other actions committed with the aim of seizing or retaining state power in an unconstitutional way. There have been no such cases in the history of sovereign Belarus.”
Bychek clarified that the case was initiated under the first part of this article and his defendants face from eight to twelve years in prison. Investigation continues, all detainees are in the KGB pre-trial detention centre, they reportedly cooperate with the investigation and give confessions.
“Among other things, we have prepared requests to the competent institutions of justice of foreign states to provide us with legal assistance in the investigation of this criminal case,” he said.
Case on coup d’etat
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 official.