El régimen bielorruso

Cable sobre el rechazo del presidente Lukashenko al jefe de la KGB bielorrusa

La embajada de Minsk recoge el relevo al frente del servicio de espionaje de Bielorrusia.- Stepan Sukharenko es sustituido por el General Yuriy Zhadobin, hombre de confianza del presidente

Date:2007-07-18 12:44:00
Source:Embassy Minsk
Dunno:07MINSK465 07MINSK613 07MINSK614

DE RUEHSK #0620/01 1991244
P 181244Z JUL 07

C O N F I D E N T I A L MINSK 000620



E.O. 12958: DECL: 07/18/2017

B. MINSK 614
C. MINSK 465

Classified By: Ambassador Karen Stewart for reason 1.4 (d)


1. (C) As predicted, President Lukashenko replaced Belarusian
KGB (BKGB) Chief Sukharenko with Major General Zhadobin, the
former head of the presidential security service. Lukashenko
also removed Sukharenko's deputy Dementei, but no replacement
has been made. Official statements claim the dismissals were
a result of Sukharenko's and Dementei's "transfer to other
posts," but embassy contacts and opposition activists
attribute the dismissals to Sukharenko's power struggle with
Interior Minister Naumov and corruption within the BKGB.
Zhadobin, a close associate of Lukashenko and his son Viktor,
has already been tasked with making staff changes within the
BKGB and State Security Committee, which we expect is a move
to put all law-enforcement agencies and security services
under Lukashenko's and Viktor's firm control. End summary.

Do Not Let The Door Hit You On The Way Out

2. (U) The presidential press department announced on July 17
that President Aleksandr Lukashenko relieved Belarusian KGB
(BKGB) Chief Stepan Sukharenko and replaced him with Major
General Yuriy Zhadobin, the former chief of the presidential
security service. Former head of the presidential bodyguard
service Andrey Vtyurin replaced Zhadobin. The outgoing
Sukharenko, born in a village near Svetlagorsk (Gomel oblast)
in 1957, had served as BKGB chief since January 2005. Deputy
Head of the BKGB Vasiliy Dementei was also removed from his
position. The press department gave few details of
Sukharenko's and Dementei's removal, other than it was due to
the former Chekists' "transfer to another post." According
to the presidential office, Lukashenko tasked Zhadobin to
submit proposals on strengthening the staff within the BKGB.

Meet The New Boss, Same As The Old Boss

3. (U) Zhadobin, born in Dnipropetrovsk, Ukraine in 1954,
began his career in 1972 after joining the USSR Armed Forces.
He graduated from the Kazan Higher Tank Command School in
1976 and finished the Armored Forces Academy, command
department, in Moscow in 1985. In 1990-99, Zhadobin served
with the Belarusian Civil Defense organization and Interior
Troops. In 1999 he was appointed deputy minister of internal
affairs and Interior Troops commander.

4. (U) According to human rights NGO Charter97, Zhadobin -
just like Sukharenko before him -- used to provide "evidence"
to support Lukashenko's paranoid theories that enemies
(particularly the West) were out to destroy him. During a
September 2004 meeting with his Security Council, Lukashenko
condemned the West's visa ban on senior GOB officials and
lambasted the opposition's attempts to destabilize the
country, noting "material" provided by Zhadobin that warned
of enemy preparations to commit aggressive acts against the
GOB leadership, including liquidation of the president.

Sukharenko's Removal Serves Whose Interests?

5. (U) Human rights lawyer and former investigator Oleg
xxxxxxxxxxxxx on July 17 opined to reporters that the BKGB Chief's
removal resulted from a power struggle between Sukharenko and
Interior Minister Vladimir Naumov (ref A). According to
xxxxxxxxxxxxx, Sukharenko was very close toSecurity Council Head
Viktor Sheyman, leader of one of the power clans in
Lukashenko's circle. However, Sheyman would likely become
the ambassador to Venezuela, leaving Sukharenko defenseless
against other clans, such as Naumov or even Lukashenko's son
Viktor, who is a presidential aide, advisor on national and
presidential security, and member of the Security Council.
Therefore, it was "obvious," according to xxxxxxxxxxxxx, that the
new head of the BKGB would be a trusted colleague of Viktor.

6. (C) In a July 16 meeting, xxxxxxxxxxxxx told Poloff that should
Sukharenko be removed, Viktor Lukashenko would fill the
position with a buddy and much of the BKGB staff with trusted
friends and colleagues to bring the BKGB under his full
control. According to xxxxxxxxxxxxx, the administration was
already threatening to deny senior BKGB agents pensions, even
those not near retirement age, if they did not retire by the
end of the year. In his July 17 interview with reporters,
xxxxxxxxxxxxx claimed that the new BKGB leadership would cause a
change in the agency's powers, as the president wants to be
sure that the BKGB and all law-enforcement agencies are under
his and Viktor's control before 2011 presidential elections.
According to xxxxxxxxxxxxx, Zhadobin was "very close" to the
president and his son. He predicted Sukharenko would become
an ambassador in an Asian country, a previous form of
political exile for several former power clan leaders and
close associates of Lukashenko.

7. (U) According to United Civic Party leader Anatoliy
Lebedko's July 17 interview with reporters, Sukharenko's
removal was the result of a business war among the
nomenklatura. Lebedko noted that the BKGB had shady business
dealings with the oil industry (reftels) and claimed the
agency had set up dummy businesses in Russia to launder
money. Lebedko doubted the BKGB's illicit activities would
change under Zhadobin's leadership. Leader of the Belarusian
Social Democratic Party (BSDP) "Gramada" Nikolai Statkevich
opined that Sukharenko knew for a long time his position was
in jeopardy, and for that reason "discovered" a Polish spy
ring to appease the president (septel). However, even this
could not save the former BKGB chief. According to
Statkevich, the BKGB had long ceased to be an "intellectual"
organization as it had been in the USSR. Its first duty was
to show absolute loyalty to the president, and
professionalism and beliefs came in distant second.

Newspaper Blames Power Shuffle on Scuffle in Mogilyov
--------------------------------------------- --------

8. (C) Journalists from the Belarusian independent website
"Your Country's Tomorrow" on July 17 attributed Sukharenko's
removal to the July 12 beating of the Head of the State
Control Committee (GosKontrol) Zenon Lomat. Political
analyst Vladimir Podgol in a July 16 meeting mentioned that a
group of "hooligans" pretending to be policemen severely beat
Lomat while he was in Mogilyov. According to the website, an
angry Naumov sent his anti-mafia division of the Ministry of
the Interior (MVD) to Mogilyov to arrest seven BKGB agents
and one Security Council member for the attack. The website
claims the attack was planned with the intention to
"compromise" Naumov. The Prosecutor General's Office is
conducting the investigation.


9. (C) Sukharenko's removal comes as no surprise, as we had
long noticed that the former BKGB chief had fallen out of
favor with Lukashenko. Our contacts continuously predicted
that Sukharenko's replacement would be a close contact of
Viktor Lukashenko, giving the president's son more control of
the security services and making him one of the most powerful
men, next to his father, in Belarus. We too suspect that
Sukharenko's downfall was a result of his battle with Naumov
and the corruption within the BKGB ranks. We will continue
to report on this development, particularly on Sukharenko's
future and his replacements.
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