Support The Moscow Times!

Belarussian KGB Accused of Abduction Attempt in Potash Dispute

An ongoing effort to improve soured Russian-Belarussian relations has come under threat after reports that Belarussian secret police tried to arrest a Russian citizen in downtown Moscow.

Igor Yevstratov was apprehended by four men as he was boarding a train to St. Petersburg, a source at Russian potash producer Uralkali told Prime on Friday.

Yevstratov was a senior executive at Belaruskali before Uralkali terminated a sales cartel with the Belarussian fertilizer maker in July.

Yevstratov was freed by Russian police after a well-timed shout for help as he was being led away, Belaruspartisan.org, a news website, said.

But no charges followed against the men, who said they were operatives of the Belarussian KGB, the report said.

The Foreign Ministry in Moscow had made no comment as of Sunday.

Belarussian KGB called the incident a "provocation," Russian media said.

In August, Belarus arrested Uralkali's Russian CEO, Vladislav Baumgertner, in Minsk and charged him with abuse of office over the cartel's termination. Yevstratov and three others were placed on a wanted list.

President Vladimir Putin attended an international summit in Minsk on Friday in an indication of thaw in bilateral relations.

Belarussian KGB was accused of detaining in Moscow in 2010 a radical anarchist who was later jailed in Minsk.

Read more

Independent journalism isn’t dead. You can help keep it alive.

As the only remaining independent, English-language news source reporting from Russia, The Moscow Times plays a critical role in connecting Russia to the world.

Editorial decisions are made entirely by journalists in our newsroom, who adhere to the highest ethical standards. We fearlessly cover issues that are often considered off-limits or taboo in Russia, from domestic violence and LGBT issues to the climate crisis and a secretive nuclear blast that exposed unknowing doctors to radiation.

As we approach the holiday season, please consider making a one-time donation — or better still a recurring donation — to The Moscow Times to help us continue producing vital, high-quality journalism about the world’s largest country.