On Wednesday, 25 November, the court sentenced a military pensioner to 10 years in prison for killing a Belaruskali worker in Soligorsk. He also has to pay more than BYN 153,000 [~$60,000/ €50,000] to the family of the deceased.
Military pensioner Leonid Shtaida who worked as a watchman in the KGB, stabbed Gennady Kisel in the neck with garden shears. Before the fateful meeting, the men argued about politics on social media and never met offline. Shtaida, aged 67, supported the current government, Kisel, aged 50, had a different opinion.
On 12 August, a murder took place right outside the KGB building. According to investigators, after the attacker struck a fatal blow, he himself, passers-by, and doctors tried to save the victim, but to no avail. Soon after that, the man died in intensive care unit. A surveillance video showed that the conflict lasted a little over a minute.
Shtaida’s actions were qualified as murder, although he had a different version of the incident. He explained that he was going to play volleyball that evening. On the way, he decided to drop by to work to give his colleague garden shears, he had borrowed to trim bushes in his country house. Shtaida believes that Kisel had come to see him on purpose; in court he mentioned that ‘zmagary’ [freedom fighters; usually used in a derogatory way – Ed.] were protesting in the city.
Kisel’s son Alexey described the incident as “coincidence”. He said that his father was returning from his country house to his son’s apartment to feed a cat. On 12 August, in Soligorsk, as in many cities, there were protests, the security forces partially blocked the traffic, so his father had to drive along the road that passed the KGB building, this is where the men ran into each other.
The accused claimed that Gennady Kisel attacked him first, while Shtaida was trying to defend himself with 50 cm long shears he had in his hands. However, forensics tests – the traces of blood on a bicycle, the nature of the wound, the way the shears entered the neck, as well as the investigative experiment – refuted the self-defense version. In court, Leonid said that he saw Kisel “not an enemy, but a lost one.”
According to the forensic medical examination, the cause of Gennady Kisel’s death is a through stab wound. At about 6.30 pm, Gennady met Leonid, and about an hour later he died in hospital. Medical examination showed that the blood of the deceased had 0.66 ‰ of alcohol, that is the attacker was sober. Investigators found messages Shtaida sent to Kisel, but did not disclose them in court, citing confidentiality of private correspondence. Nonetheless, his comments can still be found under posts on popular public pages, and the word “stupid” is the most innocent one.