BYPOL initiative* published a leaked record attributed to the acting Deputy Minister of Internal Affairs, Police Colonel Mikalai Karpiankou (Nikolai Karpenkov), who previously held the post of Head of the Main Directorate for Combating Organized Crime and Corruption (GUBOPiK of Ministry of Internal Affairs).
In the leaked audio, Karpiankou announces Lukashenka’s order to set up the first concentration camp for political opponents. Given the nature of Lukashenka’s regime and its behavior in the last 160 days, this is an extremely dangerous precedent, and a straightforwards signal for the global community that Belarus is on the edge of an non-discriminatory purge that may very likely result in atrocities comparable to 1990s Yugoslav Wars.
An internal armed conflict involving extermination of civil population and political opponents of the self-declared president Lukashenka (who already gave a carte-blanche for the use of firearms against civilians) will result in an unprecedented humanitarian crisis in the whole Eastern Europe.
Since Belarus has recently launched its first controversial nuclear power station, the situation in this country requires immediate and uncompromising steps to force the acting illegal and illegitimate authorities to resign from power, and begin the process of peaceful political transit and reconciliation.
The record provided below with Russian and English subtitles was reportedly made in October 2020 when Karpiankou held a farewell meeting with the GUBOPiK personnel. This unit of the Ministry of Interior was engaged in political repressions for years, and was used as Lukashenka’s mercenaries who performed intimidation of civil population, kidnappings, and torture of civilians.
BYPOL acknowledges that another source (who is reportedly not connected with the publication of the provided audio recording), confirmed state’s plans to create a concentration camp in Belarus and, on condition of anonymity, stated that “Karpiankou conveyed that GUBOP is preparing to carry out various violent provocations under the guise of opposition in order to make a statement in the spring that there is a civil war in the country, and use the 120th mechanized brigade (deployment: Minsk) to suppress the “aggression” from the opposition.
According to BYPOL source, Lukashenka also decided to create a small prison in each district of Minsk. Prisoners in Ivatsevichi (“Wolf holes”) are now being transferred to other prisons, and a prison for political prisoners has been created on its basis.
We kindly urge you to consider this record with all due attention.
Below is the original audio with English subtitles:
The original script of the record (in Russian):
According to BYPOL, in the beginning of a 12 minutes record, colonel Karpiankou describes new types of weapons to be used by GUBOPIK to cause greater traumatic damages to civilians, and urges using weapons to cause lethal outcome. He also mentions a delivery of new weaponry from the Russian Federation.
Karpiankou assured his subordinates that self-declared president Aliaksandr Lukashenka personally guarantees impunity for deaths and any severe injuries caused to peaceful demonstrators when using firearms: “We are covered by the head of state from all angles in terms of the use of weapons.” Along the way, the colonel also mentioned the murder of Alexander Taraikouski, labelling the deceased “a moron and a drunk” [a direct quote follows].
“Yesterday, it comes out, we took a cardboard box. Folded it into four layers, put it on a chair… just took it and tested it. It comes out, the bullet went through the cardboard box and through the chair, it comes out, and it’s clear why this drunk and moron had died, what’s his name… (from the audience: Taraikouski) drunk and moron. Of course, he was killed by a rubber bullet that hit him on the chest. He stood there in a T-shirt and I think it wouldn’t get stuck on the other side,” Karpiankou stated.
So far, no criminal cases were started by the Republic of Belarus based on facts of torture and violent deaths (including shootings) of civilians intentionally caused by the members of OMON, GUBOPiK, and other punitive units of the Interior Ministry, KGB and military units of the Special Forces of Belarus.
Finally, Karpiankou announces Lukashenka’s order to create a special camp for the indefinite resettlement of persons who have repeatedly taken part in the protests (the plan is to set up the camp on the basis of correctional facility No. 22 in the town of Ivatsevichi, the so-called “Wolf holes”). In order to achieve this goal, the Ministry of Internal Affairs has created a unified information system called “BESporyadki” (the name is given in the original transcription, and is a word play on “disorder” and “demon”) to track all civilians detained for participating in unauthorized mass events.
“The assignment: to develop and build a camp, build a camp, but not for prisoners of war or even the interned, but a camp for the especially sharp-hoofed… for resettlement. And put barbed wire around the perimeter. Set up two premises: a floor with a furnace, and a floor for feeding, to make sure they work. But keep them there until it all calms down.”
BYPOL is ready to provide the original audio recording for examination and confirmation of its authenticity.
Belarus Ministry of Interior refused to respond to journalistic requests for comment on the matter.
As a matter of fact, since 2000s, there already is a network of enforced labor camps run by the Interior Ministry of Belarus. These camps are capable of accommodating more than 5 thousand people. At least one of them, in violation of any norms, was used in mid-August 2020 for illegal detention of about a thousand civilians who were captured for participating in peaceful marches against the results of elections and police brutality.
Officially, these camps are called labor treatment centers (LTP) / лечебно-трудовые профилактории (ЛТП). There are eight of them, and they are scattered throughout the country. When, as a result of the three days of terror on August 9-11, 2020, all prisons and detention centers of Belarus were overcrowded, about a thousand civilians were taken to the LTP No. 3 near the city of Slutsk.
Despite iddilic branding (the precise meaning “labor treatment centers” in Russian is close to “medical treatment and labour resort”, rather than “labor center” in English meaning of the term), LTPs are not medical institutions, and certainly nothing like medical resorts. In Soviet times, LTPs were run under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Health and provided medical treatment to civilians who violated public order and the rules of the “socialist way of life.” In Lukashenka’s Belarus, the Ministry of Internal Affairs overtook, and LTPs turned into detention zones behind barbed wire.
The so-called dormitories in which the prisoners at the LTPs live, are, in fact, regular detention barracks. Some of their sections can accommodate 15-20 people, others – 50 to 100.
Here is how the life of a modern LTP is described by its inmate (2020 article):
“I can only talk about the LTP where I was – in Svetlogorsk. The attitude towards people there is much worse than in prison. A person is simply murdered morally, he is turned into nothing… I know a person who almost never left the isolation ward. An isolation ward is a room that doesn’t even have a toilet. You are given a tank that weighs good twenty kilograms, and you use it to relieve your needs… You can’t play, you can’t sleep, you can’t read. Nothing is allowed! In a regular prison camp, you are at least allowed to take a Bible with you to the punishment cell. In LTP – nothing is allowed ”.
The very existence of LTP is contrary to the Constitution of Belarus, which only allows imprisonment for committing a crime. The authorities use LTPs and prisons as state-run corporation of almost free labor and export numerous commercial goods produced by the inmates with sky-rocketing margins. LTPs also are one of the reasons homeless people in Belarus are almost not present in public spaces – especially during international events like hockey championships and sport competitions. They are forcibly removed to LTPs to “sell” Belarus to foreigners as an ideal society with no social issues and challenges.
In order for the court to forcibly send a person to the LTP, three administrative penalties related to alcohol consumption are enough within 365 days. Civilians may often end there by coincidence (if, for example, they were caught by the police for drinking beer or cider in a remote park or in a provincial beach). So to say, it does not require hopeless drunkenness or revelry.
However, today’s leak has a lot more far going consequences – this is the first undeniable proof the regime of Lukashenka is planning politically-motivated extermination of civilians who dare to criticize the illegal governance of a self-declared president. Since the Bosnian War, this is the first time when acting government in Europe is setting up concentration camps. But unlike in 1990s, there is still time to stop Lukashenka and his soldiers of fortune.
UPD: The acting press-secretary of Belarus Ministry of Interior Volha Chamadanava (Olga Chemodanova) labelled BYPOL record “fake”. It has to be taken into consideration that Volha Chamadanava systematically provided intentional disinformation on politically charged cases since the beginning of her career. Since August 9, 2020 she has been intentionally providing unreliable, misleading, and / or completely made up “official” information about the facts of crimes against the humanity (including, but not limited to, kidnappings, torture, and politically-motivated murders of civilians). Her husband, Dzianis Chamadanau (Denis Chemodanov), is the direct subordinate of Karpiankou as current head of the 2nd department of the Main Directorate for Combating Organized Crime and Corruption (GUBOPiK of Ministry of Internal Affairs) – considering Chamadanau’s rank he, likely, was present in the meeting where the record was made.
GUBOPiK unit of the Interior ministry (with 360 members as of October 1, 2020) is known for its ruthless and non-discriminatory violence against civilians and critics of Lukashenka since the very establishment of this unit. The role of Chamadanau in ordering illegal use of violence and torture against the civilians has to be investigated as a part of wider case of crimes against humanity conducted by GUBOPiK members. Foreign governments should consider acknowledging GUBOPiK a criminal organization in its entirety, and should prosecute its members for crimes against the humanity in line with universal jurisdiction wherever possible, as is recommended by the OSCE Moscow Mechanism report in relation to those responsible for such crimes.
*BYPOL is an independent initiative that emerged soon after August 2020 events in Belarus. It unites independent representatives of Belarus law enforcement agencies, including former investigators, prosecutors, judges, and other law enforcement professionals who refused to accept the results of rigged elections and stood up against state-orchestrated violence.
BYPOL contacts for further communication:
E-mail – ByPol@protonmail.com