11:52, Jauhien Skrabiec — Opinion
On Tuesday was the first time that I directly contacted with Brest KGB-ists.
Two people from “the bureau” waited for me at the office of the chief engineer of the Bus park No 1 of the Brestautotrans company.
The prehistory of the meeting is quite trivial, but at the same time unpredictable. The thing is that throughout July 2014 I tried to get a job at the Bus park’s department of “Tourism, marketing and foreign economic activities”, and not as just a specialist, but the head of the department. The director of the enterprise was not so much interested in the experience in the field (nowadays even former executives with experience would hardly agree to take a management position for 4 million Belarusian roubles of salary), but in new ideas, capable of satisfying the management and pull the tourism section out of a crisis.
First meeting was with the director, then with his deputy for economic matters, and finally I was presenting my development plan to a group of three (a woman joined them). Gradually their circumspection to me faded, smiles came up on their faces and after a 10-minute conversation, having discussed the matter, the deputy director told me that I could count on the position.
In a few days I make a phone call, like we agreed, and at this point (attention!) they ask me to e-mail them my presentation so the director could see it and the final word would be his. I sent it and was invited for a final interview on Monday, but I did not manage to be on time, so we had to reschedule for Tuesday at 8:30.
Tuesday, 8:45, I am knocking on the director’s door. After greetings and a reprimand for being late he says: “Jauhien, our future cooperation depends on a conversation with two people, who are waiting for you in the next office (the office of the chief engineer)”. I immediately understood who those people were, however, the first attempt to get employed in the specialty field created an illusion that the guys would simply warn me that a job at a state organization should not intersect with civic and journalistic activities… But the illusions disappeared as soon as I entered the room.
Two were there (let us called them by nicknames: Hurricane (dark-haired) and Breeze (he was chubbier). The guys jumped into sharing quite rich information about my life within the past year, contacts, travels, activities, deeds and even personal life. The conversation took long and was informal. It took about an hour with a smoke break (I refused from the tea they offered).
Using (like the Russians in Crimea) my desire to put the priority on a scrupulous official job and the uncertainty of the future at my 27, the Hurricane and the Breeze offered me to take a position at the new job, arrange my life and even get me a housing in a block of apartments, but at the same time keep doing civic activities (of non-radical nature).
In exchange the KGB-ists suggested that I stayed in contact with them, report on new youth movements (that may emerge in Brest), leak information (when I used the wording, the guys said I had not understood them correctly), about, for example, the arrival of Ukrainian friends to Belarus, and much else. The benefits they offered kept growing (life is getting better), and I started setting forth my vision of the situation and asking questions, and then the Hurricane said I had to sign a paper that I was voluntarily agreeing to become a secret agent of the Belarusian KGB!
Naturally, I got up, took my papers from the table and said: “Sorry, guys, I cannot do that”. So I left…
Having taken a smoke, I returned to the director, whose office these two were just leaving. The head of the enterprise was directly told that I had refused to cooperate, so the final word was his. The director gave me a silent handshake, without saying “yes” or “now”, we said goodbye.
The Hurricane and Breeze were standing gloomily at the Bus park station waiting for public transport. I decided to approach them as a happily unemployed person, since I had time. The two started moving, and the Breeze said: “Maybe you will change your mind? This way tomorrow you will be sitting in your own office smoking a cigarette. Look, now we need you, but if you need us, it may be too late. You are 27, you should arrange your life”. Etc etc…
“Arrange my life by the means of a KGB approval for the director? By being a rat among the people, with whom you have been communicating in the recent years? No!” – I told myself.
Not having caught a bus in the end, the Hurricane and Breeze went to solve their own problems (as I got from the conversation).
Jauhien Skrabiec, specially for charter97.org
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