Updated at 16:11,02-12-2016

Bandarenka: 80% of independent journalists recruited by KGB

"There is a reason to think over a bit why RFE/RLs audience is 20 times smaller than the audience of Charter97.org..."

"You know, I think that 80% of journalists were recruited by KGB during the years of the dictatorship". This was the answer to the question of Narodnaja Volia correspondent Maryna Koktysh, who remarked that "the website Charter97.org has been much criticized lately".

"This criticism is not surprising: Charter.97 outruns even independent outlets and not all of them are ready for the competition. And there is a reason to think over a bit when RFE/RLs audience is 20 times smaller than the audience of Charter97.org..."

An opposition newsfeed Charter97.org is frequently criticized for intentional information distortion, copyright violations and biased facts presentation.

Charter97 as a political initiative is considered to be a radical and often contentious opposition group. It is often argued that Charter97 replaced the real-life activity with the Internet buzz. It supported Mr. Milinkievich during 2006 Presidential Elections and Mr. Sannikau during those in 2010. Independent polls forecasted Mr. Sannikau up to 15% votes placing him on the second, after Lukashenka.

The chief of Sannikaus staff Uladzimir Kobiec was one of the first released political prisoners. He received political asylum abroad and confessed that he had been recruited in exchange for discharge.

Mr. Sannikau was given a pardon after making an appeal to the President.

A big group of Charter97 activists left Belarus after the elections of 2010. They came up with the idea of creation of an exiled Belarusian government abroad. Mr. Sannikau was considered to become its head.