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SBU continues misleading the public over historian Ruslan Zabily

17.12.2010    source:
In stating that historian Ruslan Zabily was in position of documents stamped “secret”, the Head of the Security Service, Valery Khoroshkovsky saw fit to ignore the fact that the Soviet stamp “sekretno” has no relation to Ukraine’s state secrets

Ruslan Zabily, historian and Director of the National Memorial Museum of Victims of the Occupation Regimes “Tyurma na Lonskoho” in Lviv has given a scathing response to the allegations made by the Head of the Security Service [SBU], Valery Khoroshkovsky. The latter, in an interview given to the newspaper Segodnya [Today], asserted that Mr Zabily was taking to Kyiv “a disk with working information” which supposedly “violated official instructions”, and also, most likely the law of Ukraine”. He also stated that “there are nonetheless documents with the stamp “secret” on the disk.”

Ruslan Zabily

“I would advise Mr Khoroshkovsky to send those officers who are continuing the investigation into history to the information and research hall – the open electronic archive of the SBU where each historical document (except photos) has the same “secret”.”

The report published on the website of the Research Centre of the Liberation Movement asserts that Khoroshkovsky is deliberately mixing up the Soviet stamps with that of the Ukrainian State [the word in English in both cases is “secret” – translator].  The only stamps restricting access which have legal bearing for the SBU are the Ukrainian stamps “secret” and “top secret”.  None of the historical documents unlawfully confiscated from Zabily, the report maintains, had such stamps nor, according to Ukrainian legislation, could they hold them.

Ruslan Zabily stressed yet again that as a historian and director of a museum he worked only with historical information which does not contain State secrets and which was needed for academic works and preparation of museum expositions.

The SBU is looking for State secrets where they cannot be by law

Only information stipulated to be a state secret by the Law of Ukraine “On State Secrets” can be classified as State secret.  The information this includes is set out in a special document “List of Items of Information which constitute a State secret”.  This contains no items of historical information. The Law prohibits the concealment of historical documents, especially those which contain information about rights violations and unlawful actions by the authorities or their officials.

The National Memorial Museum of Victims of the Occupation Regimes “Tyurma na Lonskoho”

This museum, located in what was once both a KGB and Gestapo prison, is one of only two in Eastern Europe (the other is in Vilnius). It was opened, at the initiative of the Lviv public on 28 June 2009. on 14 October it received national museum status.

The opening of an exhibition on the dissident movement in Ukraine had been planned for December, however this was prevented by the actions of the SBU.

As reported, 35-year old Ruslan Zabily was detained by SBU officers on 9 September. After an interrogation lasting many hours, his laptop and two hard disks with archival material declassified over recent years were removed.

A few days later, on 13 and 14 September 2010, the Lviv Regional Security Service [SBU] officers searched the offices of research staff of “Tyurma na Lonskoho”. According to the Acting Director of the Liberation Movement Research Centre, Vasyl Stefaniv, the SBU removed two computers and numerous pieces of material which the staff had been preparing for the above-mentioned exhibition on the dissident movement in Ukraine.

The information removed included a 1940 version of the UkrSSR Criminal Code; numerous documents from the Second Polish Republic of the 1930s (orders, reports from woewoda departments of the State police; criminal files against members of UVO [Ukrainian Military Organization] and OUN [Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists], etc; recordings from 2009-2010 with recollections of UPA [Ukrainian Resistance Army] fighters and Ukrainian dissidents made by staff of the Museum.

The confiscated material has not been returned, a criminal investigation has been initiated and as we can see the Head of the SBU continues to assert that Ruslan Zabily had “secrets” on him. 

On the other hand, no charges have been laid and allegations like those made by Khoroshkovsky are only to journalists who do not ask to see proof or details about criminal charges.

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