Alexander Rakitsky

is a new face in the initiative of former security forces ByPol.

He joined the organization in 2023, and this year decided to come out of the shadows.

In a long conversation with Svaboda, Rakitsky talked about what he did at the General Prosecutor's Office, what kind of person Andrei Shved is, whether the division into "red" and "black" colonies is still fair, as well as how the prosecutor's office looked at the 2020 protest.

"With the arrival of Shayman, the prosecutor's office was integrated vertically"

- Alexander, tell us about yourself: where are you from, where did you study, where did you work?

- I was born in Molodechno in 1974.

He finished school there.

Then — the Academy of Management, specializing in "law".

Then in 1996 he entered the service of the Minsk Transport Prosecutor's Office.

He worked there as an assistant prosecutor, an investigator.

In 1998, he started working in the office of the General Prosecutor's Office, as a prosecutor of the international law department.

In 2001, he became a prosecutor overseeing the legality of execution of criminal punishments.

Since 2008, he worked in the scientific and practical center of the General Prosecutor's Office, was the head of the department of scientific and methodological support of prosecutorial supervision.

- Explain what this scientific center does?

- Specifically, my unit was involved in the development of methodical recommendations for the implementation of prosecutorial supervision in various areas, in support of the state prosecution.

Then there are criminological investigations of various types of crime (corruption, juvenile delinquency, etc.).

Participated in the development of state programs to combat crime.

There was a lot of everything.

We were dealing with criminology, not criminology.

Criminology is a science that studies the causes and conditions of crime, developing measures to control it.

- So, you were in the central office of the General Prosecutor's Office for about 20 years?

- That's all.

Approaches have changed during this time.

Earlier, investigation was one of the areas of our activity, very important.

In the 2000s, it was taken away, as it turned out, not permanently.

The system of organs was built back in Soviet times, and it has remained approximately the same in Belarus.

They also removed the military prosecutor's office and the transport office.

After the investigation of the case of the so-called "death squad", prosecutor Oleg Bazhelka, many people in the Ministry of Internal Affairs and the KGB were removed.

And in this sense, with the arrival of Viktor Sheiman, the prosecutor's office began to integrate into the vertical of power.

Before that, it was more or less an independent body.

Next, the general prosecutors Miklashevich and Vasilevich, none of them came from the prosecutor's office.

In my opinion, this was done precisely in order to integrate the prosecutor's office into Lukashenka's vertical.

"No one stood out against the general background"

- Can you single out any of the general prosecutors with whom you have worked as a good manager?

- Not from the general prosecutors.

But there was an excellent specialist, Deputy Prosecutor General - Mykola Kuprianov, the kingdom of heaven to him.

He was a model of a prosecutor's office worker.

As for my activities, there were no changes with the change of managers.

Someone emphasized the prevention of criminal activity, in particular Vasilevich.

Someone worked without any accents.

No one stood out against the general background.

- When you were an investigator, did you work with any high-profile cases?

- No, the cases did not have a great resonance.

These were murders, corruption in the customs authorities, abuse of authority, and serious corporal punishment.

As for the case that is remembered, I will recall the incident in Barysava.

It was at the train station, the former "Afghan" was climbing the stairs from the public toilet.

The case was in winter, he slipped, and the policemen thought he was drunk, they began to detain him, and illegally used physical force against him.

He received bodily injuries, they tried to bring him to administrative responsibility.

As a result of our investigation, three police officers were charged with abuse of power.

"The division of colonies into castes is a legacy of the USSR"

- You also worked a lot with the Belarusian penitentiary system.

Have you personally visited prisons, colonies, pretrial detention centers?

- Yes, of course.

There are many institutions.

Probably most, if not all.

If we talk about prisons, then these are completely closed institutions, individuals serve their sentences in cells for 2-6 people.

They are under the supervision of prison staff 24 hours a day.

As for the colonies, they are residential buildings, near each of them there are scare zones, surrounded by a fence with a net.

Some residential buildings are divided into rooms for four to six people, in some there are even a hundred.

In every colony there is a production - somewhere furniture is assembled, somewhere metal production.

There are also canteens, a stadium, a club, and in most colonies there is a church.

Prisoners do not have permanent access to these facilities, only on a daily basis.

- Have you been in the cells for those sentenced to life imprisonment and for those who are awaiting the execution of the death sentence?

- Yes, I saw it.

In our country, life imprisonment is served in Zhodzin and Glyboky.

It's the same prison regime, only with increased security.

Separate blocks on the territory of a prison or colony.

People do not sit in "single cells", usually these are cells for 2-4 people.

As for the "executioners", they were waiting for the execution of the sentence in pre-trial detention center No. 1 of Minsk (on Volodarsky Street - RS), in the cells located in the basement of the institution.

- Is it true that there are so-called "red" and "black" colonies?

Some are allegedly run by the administration, while others are run by criminals...

- There was such a division in the past.

This is the legacy of the USSR, in the colonies there was such a division into "thugs", "men" and people, as it is now customary to say, with a low social status.

This was transferred to the Belarusian penitentiary system.

The conventional division into "red" and "black" colonies existed until the early 2000s.

For example, colony No. 1 was considered "red" in Minsk, "black" in Navopolatsk.

Then the situation improved.

It was popular until there were many criminal gangs, "thieves in law".

The caste division of convicts has generally become a thing of the past, except for "people of low social status".

I believe that it was left to the colonial administrations to make it easier to manage.

This partition is fully controlled.

In my opinion, even what is left should be eradicated.

Today, all 100% of prisoners sign papers on proper behavior.

For example, for what they are now bringing to justice in the colonies, appointing SHIZA or PKT, depriving them of transfers.

Convicts have a duty to clean their living quarters.

And only people with a low social status have been doing it for a long time.

If you go to wash the toilet, you will enter this caste.

If the administration wants to involve someone in cleaning up like this, and he refuses, then this is a reason for punishment.

The system is closed, there are a lot of opportunities for wrongdoing.

- How do you perceive the conditions of political prisoners serving their sentences today?

- In my opinion, this is a crime against humanity.

According to my information, more than a hundred people received Article 411 of the Criminal Code "Disobedience to the requirements of a correctional institution."

Many people are in SHIZA, PKT without a break.

Unbearable conditions are created for people to serve their punishment.

"They summoned for questioning, conducted a search"

- Why did you leave the General Prosecutor's Office?

— The events of 2020 were actively discussed among colleagues.

From October to December 2020, I prepared several documents that provided a subjective assessment of the activities of the Ministry of Internal Affairs and the KGB.

Two letters related to a specific criminal case.

And another document is a general appeal to the Prosecutor General Andrei Shved.

I spoke about the inaction of the prosecutor's office.

In June 2021, I was summoned for questioning by my own security agencies, my workplace was searched, my phone was taken away, and my e-mail was checked.

All this lasted about eight hours.

It turned out that one of these documents was published and it discredits the Republic of Belarus.

I was invited to the next interrogation, but I did not show up, because my colleagues informed me that I was going to be detained.

- Then you left?

- Yes, exactly.

Acquaintances helped him get to Moscow, from there he flew to Yerevan, and from Armenia to Kyiv.

— In 2020, did you participate in protests?

- It was painful to look at all this lawlessness.

This was understood not only by me, but also by other employees of the prosecutor's office.

The inaction is now clear, but then there was still hope that those responsible would be brought to justice.

It was a utopia.

Together with his family, he participated in protest actions in Molodechno and Radashkevichi, he did not go to Minsk.

"The Swede understands how to operate in this system"

— And in general, what was the mood in the General Prosecutor's Office in 2020?

- It was expected that persons who committed simply immoral things - violence, torture, rape - would be brought to justice.

Many testimonies have been published.

Some employees went to the hospital and helped the injured.

Someone contacted the opposition forces.

There was an expectation, which later turned out to be naive.

To date, the central office of the prosecutor's office has changed by 70 percent. In March 2021, 26 people were dismissed from the prosecutor's office of the Horaden region in one day.

This is the so-called "purging the ranks".

Someone participated in protests, someone spoke publicly, and someone privately.

Imagine the scale.

Today there is a personnel issue, the middle level has left, and there is no one to replace it.

They try to attract someone from the districts, and then in the province they become district prosecutors six months after graduating from university.

Prosecutor General Andrei Shved

— Did Andrei Shved start such purges?

- Yes.

In 2021, he said that there are many traitors in our ranks and the purges will continue.

The Swede is a very ambitious person.

His priority is his career.

At the same time, he is an experienced specialist.

He understood how to act in this system, how to catch wishes, fulfill assignments, justify wishes.

This is characteristic of both the Soviet system and ours.

The funny story was in the context of the execution of assignments in the state system.

There was Lukashenka's directive under the Minister of Internal Affairs, Naumov, to ensure 100 percent employment in the colonies.

For a certain period, there were reports from certain regions that attracted not 100%, but 104% of convicts.

Shved and I have known each other since the end of the 1990s, we sat across a couple of offices from each other.

He was the prosecutor of the department for supervision of the implementation of the law by the bodies of inquiry and investigation.

- Was the former prosecutor Aleksandar Kanyuk different from Shved?

- Such drastic steps were not characteristic of him.

If we take the events of 2020, Kanyuk did not fire the people who participated in the protests, but looked for some compromises, tried to come to an agreement with them.

Alexander Kanyuk

"Former colleagues support me"

- What did they do in Ukraine?

- As for public activities, I contacted the head of the Belarusian Crisis Center in Lviv, Alyaksei Frantzkevich, and helped.

They promoted the draft law on the legalization of Belarusians who came to live in Ukraine.

Helped to write documents from a legal point of view.

I have relatives in Ukraine who helped me.

He even found a job in "Privatbank", the largest state bank of Ukraine, as a law enforcement officer.

But then he still had to go.

He left a couple of days after the start of the war.

Alexander Rakitsky

- How did you get to ByPol?

— In March 2022, I received a contact from Oleg Talerchyk, we talked.

I said I was ready to help ByPol.

Unfortunately, there was no feedback from Talerchyk afterwards.

We did not know each other personally, but I knew about such a person.

In 2023, we had mutual acquaintances with Alexander Azarov.

And Azarov offered a job.

- Why did you reveal your face?

Many former security forces do not do this.

- The majority are afraid for their relatives - children, parents.

I have children with me, and their parents, unfortunately, have died.

- Former colleagues do not write?

- I am in contact with some, we maintain relations.

These people support me.

- No one offers to return to Belarus?

- When I was in Ukraine, such offers came through third or fourth parties.

"Sarcasm towards Lukashenka was always present"

— What is your function in ByPol ​​today?

— To show the full scale of the regime's criminal activities and to make this work systematic.

This applies to falsification of elections, and violence against the civilian population, and crimes against the constitutional rights and freedoms of citizens, and crimes against the interests of the service.

Legal assessment of actions of specific persons.

This is such an analytical work.

— Until 2020, did you think that something was wrong in Belarus?

- Everyone thought, even understood that it is wrong for a person to seize such enormous power.

Irony and sarcasm were always present among civil servants and prosecutors, Lukashenka was called "moon-faced", "sun-like".

Like, look what savagery the "sun-like" has taken.

These processes were obvious, but they were put up with open lawlessness.

- Do prosecutors and judges work together in courts?

— The process is organized in such a way that it is, in fact, one hitch.

There are cases when before the beginning the judge talks with the prosecutor, they agree on the sentence.

This does not always happen.

But there is a practice, if the case has reached the court, then a guilty verdict must be issued.

And until 2020, there were cases when principled prosecutors refused to support the prosecution, they reported their position to the management - and then they were not allowed to the process.

In the cases of political prisoners, both the judge and the prosecutor know exactly what the verdict will be before the trial begins.

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