Death Of Jew By Belarusian KGB Triggers Widespread Protests

Andrei Zeltser, z'l.

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Hundreds of Belarusian citizens protesting against the regime of Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko were detained in recent days after KGB officers killed a Jewish dissident last week, JTA reported.

Andrei Zeltser, z’l, a 31-year-old computer programmer, was shot to death by Belarusian KGB officers during an undercover raid at his home in Minsk. The officers, who broke down Zeltser’s door while wearing civilian clothing, reportedly had orders to arrest him and when Zeltser resisted, they shot him to death. Government officials claim that Zeltser had opened fire against the KGB officers, killing one of them. A KGB statement said that Zeltser’s wife was arrested, Reuters reported.

Following the incident, a news anchor on STV reported the incident with an anti-Semitic slant, falsely saying that Zeltzer had dual citizenship, a claim similar to many anti-Semitic complaints against Jews in the past in the former Soviet Union.

“Zeltser took advantage of state benefits to enrich himself and live in two countries, to make money here and spend it there,” the news anchor said, speaking with a feigned accent stereotypical of Yiddish-speaking Soviet Jews.

Zeltser wasn’t a US citizen like the anchor claimed but he worked for the US-based software firm Epam, founded by Arkadiy Dobkin, a Jew from Belarus now residing in the United States, a fact that has drawn extra attention to the incident.

“While the individual in question has not been named by any official source, we can confirm that the individual reported in the media was an Epam employee,” Epam said. “The company has no information that the individual ever held any other citizenship or residential status outside of Belarus.”

“I can’t say or think anything. I’m shocked, I don’t understand what’s going on,” Belarusian media outlet Nasha Niva quoted Zeltser’s mother-in-law as saying, according to Reuters. “Andrei is a very good person, a wonderful son-in-law.”

Reuters quoted local media and a senior adviser to the exiled opposition leader Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya as saying that the incident is “a result of lawlessness in Belarus.”

“Our people don’t feel safe anymore – even in their homes,” she said. “The autocrat holding on to the power with violence and terror creates a confrontation between Belarusians.”

Following the incident, Belarusian KGB officers detained 50 people for “insulting government officials” or “incitement” in the wake of multiple social media posts about Zeltser’s death.

Zeltser, z’l, is one of many Belasurian citizens who have been killed by KGB officers in multiple street protests since the 2020 presidential election, in which “Europe’s last dictator” claimed victory in rigged elections, as he has repeatedly done since 1994.

(YWN Israel Desk – Jerusalem)