Here are the two versions of what happened in Minsk.
Armed resistance to the KGB officers during their punitive actions became an epoch-making event in the history of the Belarusian revolution. However, the event itself, as well as the version presented by the state media, raises many questions.
At the time of this writing, little was known about Andrei Zeltser.
Born in 1989, worked for EPAM Systems, was married and was fond of fencing, running, and triathlon. As part of his hobbies, he repeatedly took part in sports competitions. Andrei's wife is registered in Minsk at 29 Yakubouki Street. He himself is registered in the Pershamaiski district of the capital. Zeltser has a son born in 2012.
More details are given by his Instagram account, or rather two accounts. The first account was opened in 2012. In it, Andrei actively published a lot of personal information, mainly related to his sports hobbies.
In this account, Andrei posted about the protests in Belarus, perhaps he himself took part in them.
The second account was opened on March 9, 2021, at least on this date the first photo was published. The account contains only 11 photos, including a photo with a gun. Photos do not express the individuality of the author, do not contain meaningful captions under them. Photos of the gun appeared on these accounts on August 13 and 14.
The account profile photo is a copy of the Facebook profile.
Judging by the number of subscribers, on both accounts (if, of course, the second belonged to Zeltser), Andrei led a secluded life with a strictly limited circle of friends.
This way of life does not characterize Zeltser as an aggressive person. Aggressiveness is not visible in any of his posts or hobbies. Most of all, it is surprising that Zeltser did not publish photos from the hunting activities, for which he could have bought a gun, on his main account, and there were no comments under the photos themselves. When looking at Zeltser's photographs, one gets the feeling that he lived a happy family life.
The first question that arises is the legality of the conduct of investigative actions by the KGB officers. The footage provided by the state media does not show whether a search or detention was carried out. It is also not clear whether the KGB officers introduced themselves to Zeltser or his wife before starting to break down the doors of the apartment. In this case, Zeltser's actions are self-defense.
Article 34 of the Criminal Code of the Republic of Belarus provides that every citizen has the right to protection from socially dangerous encroachment. This right belongs to a person regardless of the possibility of avoiding encroachment or seeking help from other persons or authorities.
An act committed in a state of necessary defense, including when protecting a home from a socially dangerous encroachment by causing harm to the encroacher, is not a crime.
Part 4 of this article states: the actions of the defending person do not exceed the limits of necessary defense if this person, due to the unexpectedness of the encroachment, could not objectively assess the nature and danger of the encroachment.
Breaking open the door by the KGB officers could be regarded by Zeltser as an attempt to enter a dwelling for the sake of robbery. As we can see in the video, the KGB officers who burst into the apartment immediately began brandishing their weapons, without presenting the legal basis for entering the apartment. That is, due to the surprise and legal nihilism of the KGB officers, Zeltser could not assess who was in front of him - a bandit or a KGB officer, and therefore used a weapon. By the way, the name of the unit is not indicated on the clothes of the KGB officers. The video shows that they are dressed “in plain clothes”.
If Zeltser was detained as “a particularly dangerous criminal suspected of terrorist activity,” the events would have developed quite differently. The apartment should be taken by storm by special forces in bulletproof vests.
So far, this is all that is known about Andrei, but the details of the shooting raise a lot of questions from the author of this text, a former lawyer in criminal cases.
A number of questions arise about the objective facts that are recorded in the video.
The first question is the video format, which was edited from two sources. One of them is Zeltser's apartment. Immediately confused by the promptness of the installation. The murder of a KGB officer is extraordinary, not because it undermines faith in their immortality, but because this is the first such case and the authorities do not have a “protocol” of actions, including the media. Now let's see what they can justify themselves for.
No body, no case
One of the circumstances that confused us was the absence of the body of the dead Zeltser in the video.
At the moment of firing a gun, Zeltser was in front of the door. It can also be seen that at the time of the shot, there was no one in the doorway of the room, that is, he was shooting at a target located in the corridor.
Immediately after the shot and return shots of the law-enforcement officers, Zeltser seems to fall into the depths of the room. Logically, the bullets overtook him in the doorway.
But as we see, there was no Andrei’s body either on the floor, or in the doorway. There is no trace of his blood on the floor of the room.
But there are traces of blood in the corridor leading to the room, now we will return to them.
The video recorded the movement of the deceased KGB officer along the corridor of the room. The frame shows that he reached the door of the room, stopping in its opening.
Then he moves back to the front door of the apartment, near which he sits on the floor. But we remember that Zeltser fired when there was no one in the doorway. It turns out that Dima “Nirvana”, having received a shot from a hunting rifle, and shot in response at Zeltser, went to the room entrance, and then shifted back.
Now let's look at the traces of blood that should belong to the deceased law-enforcement officer. And this is where the oddities begin.
Blood stains begin half a meter from the doorway, but we remember that the KGB officer reached the doorway, entered the room a little, and came back. That is, he began to bleed some time after the shot, going up to the doorway and returning back, otherwise the entire doorway of the room would have been stained with his blood.
This picture of traces of blood on the floor does not match the murder weapon.
The 12 gauge hunting rifle we see in the shot has a tremendous stopping power. In the case of a shot from a distance at point-blank range, as Zeltser did, it doesn't matter what you shoot - a small shot or a heavy bullet at a wild boar. The shot has a truly explosive effect, simply annihilating the soft tissue that lead meets. If a fraction hits the body from a distance, it is more likely to remain inside the body, transferring all the energy to the target. In this case, the inlet will be the size of a fist, and the body organs will instantly turn into porridge, splashing out their contents - blood, soft tissues, remnants of digestion products. In this case, the victim will instantly begin to bleed, and the blood will immediately splash not only on the floor, but also on the walls and ceiling.
In case of hitting the body with a buckshot or a heavy bullet, point-blank, the latter will pass through the body. But there is also a nuance here. Once in the body, a buckshot or bullet will flatten. Due to their high energy, they will tear and reel on themselves, soft tissues, muscles, fascia and internal organs until they pass through the victim's body, leaving an outlet in it that is many times larger than the inlet. In this case, traces of blood, in the form of direct splashes, will instantly appear on the floor and walls behind the victim, which we do not see in the video. That is, a buckshot or a bullet would simply rip out a huge piece of meat from the victim's body.
The described injuries after hitting the chest or abdominal cavity, both in the case of shot and buckshot / bullet, make further movement impossible. This is called stopping action. Consequently, the KGB officer was not fired at with the classic hunting ammunition.
Any firearm has a recoil, it is due to the laws of physics that relate the mass of the projectile to the energy of the powder charge, giving energy back to the shooter's shoulder. The higher the initial velocity, the mass of the projectile and the lower the mass of the weapon, the greater the recoil energy. In hunting rifles, the recoil is such that the arrow pushes back quite strongly, tossing the barrel of the rifle up. For example, the recoil energy of Magnum cartridges can reach 50 joules, which is the performance of a traumatic pistol bullet.
But in the footage where Zeltser shoots a KGB officer, we do not see this. Yes, there is a shot, with a small amount of powder gases, which indicates a small amount of gunpowder in the cartridge, there is a small recoil - the gun in the hands of a short and puny Zeltser moves back a couple of centimeters, while remaining on the line of sight.
What does this mean? Yes, that Zeltser shot at the KGB officers with a maximum of rubber - traumatic bullets or blank cartridges. In the case of shooting traumatic bullets, due to the low weight of rubber (which is lighter than water) and a small amount of powder charge, Zeltser's gun would give the recoil that we saw, and the point-blank distance led to a penetrating wound of a KGB officer.
The bleeding of a KGB officer also corresponds to the damage sustained from being hit at close range by a traumatic projectile. Blood from a relatively small inlet first wetted the clothes, and only then began to drip onto the floor. Apparently, the KGB officer bled to death due to liver damage. Otherwise, with damage to the heart or aorta, he would not be able to move for so long.
Perhaps, due to his inexperience or other personal factors, Andrei Zeltser could not assess the seriousness of the situation in which he found himself, naively believing that shooting with a traumatic cartridge at close range would simply scare off the attacking security officials.
The security officials who entered the apartment after Dmitry "Nirvana" have quite interesting and unusual weapons for the Belarusian authorities.
In this frame we see a Glock pistol. It is in the hands of a person standing on the right along the corridor in the video segment 01 min 04 sec.
And this frame, at the same time interval - 01 min. 04 sec., depicts a SigSauer P226 in the hands of an officer.
Such pistols are in the possession of the SOBR of the Internal Troops, the OSAM of the Border Committee, the special forces of the Ministry of Internal Affairs - Almaz, the special forces of the KGB - Alpha, and the SBP. Ordinary operatives are content with the Makarov pistol.
Thus, the KGB special forces took part in the arrest of Andrei Zeltser.
In this case, the unprofessional behavior of the commandos looks quite surprising. Either they have become too relaxed, accustomed to impunity, or have lost their qualifications.
The actions of the security officials also raise many questions from the point of view of their professionalism.
On the 57th second of the recording, it is clear that a man in gray is shooting into the corridor, through the doorway, in the direction of the room where Zeltser is.
A few seconds later the camera moves to the left, towards the room and we see that the shots of the man in gray were directed at the back of his partner - the deceased Dima “Nirvana”. The position of the body and the direction of the person's hands in gray provide no other options. This behavior is dangerous and unprofessional.
By the way, it is this person who is holding the SigSauer P226 pistol in the above frame.
As a result of a detailed analysis of the video, we have two versions of what happened in the apartment.
What he saw allows us to conclude that Andrei Zeltser could shoot at the KGB officers who came to him with a search. However, he shot with traumatic cartridges, which, by coincidence, led to the death of a KGB officer.
If this was the fact, then Zeltser's motives for taking up arms and filming it on video - lie in the field of forensic psychiatric examination, unfortunately, posthumously.
And if not? If you put all the facts together?
Friendly fire and deepfake
Dimka “Nirvana” became a victim of the “Friendly Fire”.
This version is based on video editing and an explanation of the shots from Zeltser's apartment, which were allegedly filmed by Zeltser himself, and the recordings of security officials with shooting in the back of Dimka “Nirvana”.
The absence of Zeltser's body and blood on the floor of the room, in front of the doorway, speaks in its favor.
Also, this version is supported by the absence of the KGB officer - Dimka “Nirvana”, on the recording of Zeltser, who was supposed to appear in the doorway of the room, as we saw on the recordings of the security forces. Why should the security forces disrupt the continuity of the course of events, removing from the frames the evidence of the authenticity of Zeltser's recording? Only if the recording is not genuine.
Modern technologies allow us to superimpose the face of the person we need on any video - a deepfake. This could theoretically have happened in the video. A very short recording time, which depicts Zeltser's face in front, the absence of facial expressions on it, will create great difficulties for the examination of the video for authenticity.
Zeltser could have been played by a similar in size “Actor”, whose face was changed with the help of a neural network. The “actor” fired a blank (as can be seen from the recoil) towards the security forces, and that was the end of the shooting. But here he made a mistake, because judging by the edited video, Andrei was killed immediately by return fire. In this case, Zeltser's body, or traces of his blood, should inevitably remain at the entrance to the room, in the area of the door.
This simple manipulation was made with one purpose - to hide the unprofessionalism of the KGB officers by hanging the murder of a colleague on the body of Zeltser. At the 57th second of the recording, we clearly see how a man, with a SigSauer P226 pistol in his hands, shoots his colleague in the back. It was these shots that most likely caused the death of a KGB officer. By the way, the mentioned blood stains on the floor of the corridor also fit into this version.
There are two problematic points in this version.
The reason for the shooting by the KGB. Prior to the events mentioned, the searches were carried out without shooting. It is possible that Zeltser did meet the KGB officers with a gun in his hands, or fired a blank or traumatic cartridge, which provoked hysteria of the security officers and the accidental murder of their own colleague. Perhaps it was the other way round. The security officials, excited by the break-in of the door, flew into the apartment with the excitement of the chase, took the object in Zeltser's hands for a weapon, for example, a telephone, and opened fire. In any case, the karma turned out to be instantaneous. As we noticed in the video, Dimka “Nirvana” was the first to open fire on Zeltser, and he got a bullet in the back from his colleague.
The behavior of Zeltser's wife. The footage shows that Zeltser's wife, at the time of recording the video inside the apartment, behaves quite calmly, recording what is happening on the phone. It is likely that she was simply intimidated, given a certain choice for the sake of participating in the play. But, the fact that she was detained for complicity in the murder of a KGB officer will not allow to find out the details of what happened from her.
The question is, why arrange such a show? The answer is simple: the regime cannot afford to lower the authority of the KGB by admitting that during the arrest of an oppositionist, one “KGBist” killed another. If Zeltser had simply died during the arrest, then it would have been enough to show the public the video of the security forces, without any falsifications. But the ridiculous death of a KGB officer, coupled with the death of Zeltser, forced the authorities to play a real show, albeit with a disgusting direction.
Aliaksei Kuzniatsou, bolkunets.org