The study was conducted by a reputable Criminal Investigation laboratory.
A study by the St. Petersburg Independent Inspection Services “Criminalistic Laboratory of Audiovisual Documents” confirmed the authenticity of the audio recording in which the head of the KGB of Belarus in 2008-2012 Vadzim Zaitsau planned a series of assassinations.
The expertise was ordered by the TV channel “Nastoyashcheye Vremya”.
Three men, one of whom was Vadzim Zaitsau, discuss poisoning and blasting with the help of “caches” of political emigrants from Belarus. “Elimination ... should be so natural that then no expert should ********* [find fault]. Just a targeted strike,” Zaitsau says.
A hidden recording of the conversation was published on January 4 by EUObserver, but it was impossible to confirm its authenticity due to poor quality.
Ihar Makar, a former employee of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Belarus, who emigrated to Lithuania in 2006, gave the recording to the journalists. He keeps the source of the recording a secret for fear of his safety. After publication, Makar testified in Kyiv in the case of the murder of journalist Pavel Sheremet in 2016.
“And how to provoke a natural blasting ... here, with regard to Sheremet you need to work, which *** [tired], *** [damn]. Let's make a cache of some kind and so on, so that this rat, *** [damn], at all, *** [damn], they won't get their hands or feet together,” says Vadzim Zaitsau in the leaked audio recording. It was the explosion of a bomb installed under the bottom of the car that killed Sheremet.
The Ministry of Internal Affairs of Ukraine said that “the new information will be able to help in the search for the still unidentified customers and organizers of the murder”. Ukrainian investigators have begun examining the audio recording, but the results have not yet been published.
On August 19, the Belarusian Foreign Ministry published a statement in which it did not comment on the audio recording with the ex-head of the KGB, but called Makar a “swindler”. “We have compelling evidence, including an audio recording, that clearly demonstrates the purported fraudulent intent of this dealmaster,” the statement said.
“Identity of the specified speakers”
“Nastoyashcheye Vremya” has ordered a study of the recording in the St. Petersburg “Criminalistic laboratory of audiovisual documents”.
“Nastoyashcheye Vremya” managed to find 13 videos with Zaitsau's voice on the Internet - these are his speeches as the head of the KGB and the head of the Belarusian Biathlon Federation [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, etc.].
Having selected five recordings, the experts compared Zaitsau's voice with the voice of the man who was planning the murders. Conclusion: this is the same person.
The research includes auditory-linguistic and instrumental analysis of speech.
At the first stage, experts analyzed the individual characteristics of articulation, general speech skills, emotional state, socio-cultural characteristics of the speaker. One of many examples: Zaitsau's speech is characterized by short pauses filled with an e-shaped sound: “You maximally, uh, hide it”, “There, uh, he is sitting making much noise all the time”, “Ah, uh, how to provoke a natural blasting”...
These pauses last from a few milliseconds to three seconds, while in the vowel sound, u-, o- and y-shaped vowels are also “heard”. In this case, the voice tone is reduced to 50-60 Hz. The voice of a typical adult male has a frequency of 85-155 Hz.
“There are no differences in pitch, strength and timbre characteristics of the compared speakers' voices,” the study says. The experts note that the compared speakers equally well control their emotional state.
At the second, instrumental stage, the experts analyzed the “statistical and dynamic spectral speech characteristics.” To do this, they used the SIS II program of the St. Petersburg “Center for Speech Technologies”.
The voices of the conspirator and Vadzim Zaitsau turned out to be identical at this stage of the study. “Even long-term training cannot significantly change the habitual stereotypes [of speech], since they are practically not perceived by ordinary hearing and are implemented without conscious articulatory control, although they are clearly visible in the framework of instrumental speech analysis,” the study says.
At the same time, the examination also noted some minor differences in Zaitsau's speech during a secret meeting in the KGB and in his official speeches found by “Nastoyashcheye Vremya”.
“Zaitsau gives interviews, participates in press conferences and speaks publicly in the presented video phonograms, his style of speech is official, his manner of speech is more restrained, his speech is more prepared (deliberate).”
For comparison: in the leaked audio recording, “the speaker is conducting an informal conversation with, probably, well-known and subordinate people, the style of speech is close to colloquial with elements of business and formal business, the manner of speech is free, calm, and easy.”
Who conducted the research
The Independent Inspection Services “Criminalistic Laboratory of Audiovisual Documents” was engaged in the restoration of magnetic phonograms from the nuclear submarine “Kursk”, and the examination of recordings of negotiations to investigate the death of Tu-154 near Smolensk with the President of Poland on board.
The head expert - Polina Zubova - in 1993-2001 worked in expert-criminalistic center of the Central Internal Affairs Directorate for St. Petersburg and the Leningrad region, then headed the department of videophonographic research of the North-West regional center of criminalistic examination of the Ministry of Justice.
In addition to the murder of Sheremet, an audio recording published by EUObserver contains the discussion of the murder of three political emigrants living in Germany: former employee of the anti-corruption department Viachaslau Dudkin, former head of the Minsk Detention Center # 1 Aleh Alkayeu, and former commander of the 5th separate brigade of special forces Uladzimir Baradach (all of them are now alive).
President of Belarus Aliaksandr Lukashenka allegedly allocated more than $ 1.5 million for such operations, Zaitsau says in the record.
In the leaked record, the speakers also discuss the creation of a company of “girls” to secretly spy on Lukashenka's opponents.
Lukashenka removed Zaitsau from the post of head of the KGB of Belarus at the end of 2012. Since 2013, he has been working as head of the Belarusian provider Cosmos TV.