The director of the Lviv “Lontsky St. Prison” museum commemorating the victims of Soviet and German regimes in Ukraine, Ruslan Zabily, and the ex-head ofSBU archives, Volodymyr Vyatrovych, gave a press conference at the Ukrainian Information Service in Kyiv after SBU opened a criminal case against Zabily accusing him of preparing to disclose state secrets.-
Speaking to ZIK, Zabily said, “At 7.30 a.m. on Sept. 8 I was met by six SBU operatives as I was leaving the Lviv-Kyiv train. They asked me to go with them for questioning. The questioning lasted until 22.00, or 14 hours. In all, I was interviewed by between 6 and 10 officials. They asked me about the topic of my research and contacts with foreign and Ukrainian scholars.
Specifically, they asked me about Volodymyr Vyatrovych [ex-chief of SBU archives] and other scholars. They told me I was in a possession of classified information which had been illegally downloaded from SBU computers. They proposed to me to admit my guilt and surrender my notebook and 2 mobile discs. I refused as the SBU operatives had no court order authorizing them. However, they confiscated the notebook and discs, writing a receipt. Today I learned that they opened a criminal investigation against me,” Zabily said.
The historian was asked by our correspondent whether the procedure of impounding his notebook and memory discs was observed (computer’s ports sealed, computer activated only in the presence of witnesses or the owner), as there is a threat that some information can be planted in his notebook without his knowledge – similarly to the practice of planting drugs, money, pornography, etc.
“This is expressly why I refused to give them my things without a court ruling. They didn’t activate the computer and discs in my presence. God alone knows what might be happening to my gear. This morning I wrote a complaint to the SBU head asking him to explain in writing why his operatives did what they did. I also demanded my things back,” Zabily went on.
“That the SBU interest focused on materials on the activities of the Ukrainian nationalist liberation movement looks like an attempt to coerce historians doing research on this topic. I am sure I won’t be the only target. [Such coercion] leads to the establishment of a reactionary regime,” the historian noted.
Zabily told ZIK that the area of his specific research is the OUN-UPA liberation movement. Zabily says there were no classified files on his PC as all the documents had been declassified when Yushchenko was president, and posted on the SBU website.
The witch-hunt for the historian was initiated by SBU head Khoroshkovsky, who, according to SBU operatives, gave an oral order to detain historian Ruslan Zabily.
Volodymyr Vyatrovych who also spoke at the press conference accused SBU of hiding the crimes of Stalin, as if it was year 1937, not 2010.
Vyatrovych said the witch-hunt against historians is another link in the chain of similar offences perpetrated by the regime like censorship of history textbooks and closure of archives.
Speaking later in the day, the SBU spokeswoman Iryna Ostapenko said the preliminary analysis of Zabily’s computer revealed some classified files in it.