Russia Monitor is a review of the most important events related to Russian internal and external security, as well as its foreign policies.
Date: 9 June 2021
Russian Intelligence Pledges to Help Lukashenko Target Enemies Abroad
Belarusian special services are getting increasingly involved in joint activities with Russia. This is not only about counterintelligence cooperations to combat opposition forces inside the country, but also to intimidate those in other states. Such a conclusion comes from the deal the Belarusian KGB just inked with a Russian intelligence agency.
The Russian Foreign Intelligence Service (SVR) has joined forces with the Belarusian State Security Committee (KGB). On June 3, Belarus hosted a working meeting between KGB Chairman Ivan Tertel and Director of the Russian Foreign Intelligence Service Sergei Naryshkin. The two officials met in Vitebsk. Where they met was not incidental, either; it was selected to demonstrate Russia’s superior position. It was in the capital of one of the regions bordering Russia, and not in Minsk. Meanwhile, the two sides did not conceal that they were targeting Western nations. “In the spirit of traditionally brotherly relations Russia’s SVR and Belarus’ KGB agreed to work together to counteract destructive activities of the West, which are aimed at destabilizing the political, social, and economic situation in the space of the Union State,” the SVR said in a statement. It meant Belarus and Russia. The timing was not incidental, either. The two officials met a few days after Lukashenko held talks with Vladimir Putin in Sochi while Belarus came under fire over its hijacking of the Ryanair aircraft and detaining dissident blogger Raman Pratasevich and his girlfriend. Firstly, the two leaders might have devised a plan to further tighten cooperation between their intelligence agencies, which could explain why Naryshkin met Tertel. Secondly, they have cooperated for a long time now. It is not only about abducting Pratasevich as he might have been followed by Russian intelligence officers in Greece before boarding the plane, but also an earlier provocation on an alleged plot to assassinate Lukashenko. In April the FSB had arrested two men in Moscow for allegedly planning a coup in Belarus and handed them over to the KGB. A closer link between the Belarusian and Russian intelligence outlets should voice concern of European nations, notably those being home to Belarusian exile opposition groups. Possibly Russian intelligence will offer more support to the KGB in Belarus for its missions abroad.
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