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Lukashenka Unveils Memorial To Dzerzhinskii

Lukashenka (file photo) 7 October 2004 -- Belarusian President Alyaksandr Lukashenka today opened a memorial museum complex to Feliks Dzerzhinskii, and praised the founder of the Soviet secret police as a "great person" Belarus could use now.

Lukashenka also called for strong ties between Belarusian and Russian intelligence agencies, citing parallels in their common past and current cooperation.

Lukashenka said at the ceremony in Dzerzhinovo, Dzerzhinskii's native village 30 kilometers east of Minsk, that Belarus is currently going through a "very difficult period," which he said is similar to the time when Dzerzhinskii founded what he called a "mighty organization."

Dzerzhinskii helped establish the first Soviet secret service, called the Cheka, in 1917 under Bolshevik leader Vladimir Lenin. The Cheka, which was the forerunner of the KGB, was involved in a number of mass arrests and executions.