A line briefly posted on the website of the Dynamo Minsk sports club revealed something new about one of its most famous members: biathlete Darya Domracheva worked for the Belarusian KGB intelligence agency.
Domracheva, a three-time Olympic gold medalist and 2014-2015 World Cup Total Score winner, usually spreads an uplifting message to her fans about believing in and loving yourself. She frequently shapes her hands into a heart when taking selfies and once posted on Instagram, “always better mood when you are in pink.”
The State Security Agency of the Republic of Belarus, according to its website, “provides for the independence and territorial integrity of the Republic of Belarus, the protection of the constitutional order and the sovereignty of Belarus, as well as providing national security of the Republic of Belarus in the political, economic, military, scientific, technological, informational, social, demographic and environmental fields.”
Domracheva apparently held the rank of lieutenant.
“Domracheva had worked for the KGB until June 2014, but at the moment Darya is not an employee of the Committee,” a KGB spokesman said on Wednesday.
Some in Belarus say that it was obvious.
“In Belarus, all those who are professionally engaged in biathlon serve in the KGB, because the Federation of biathlon is fixed for that office,” Ales Putsila of the television channel Belsat told Russian-language online newspaper Meduza. “Each KGB chairman concurrently heads the biathlon federation. So that Darya Domracheva was the state of the KGB, there is nothing surprising… This does not mean that members of the national biathlon team are secret agents. During their careers, they are simply part of the state and are maintained by the KGB.”
Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko only recently had European Union sanctions against him lifted; they had originally been placed for human rights abuses. Belarus currently ranks near the bottom of the world list on press freedoms. Several former KGB agents remain sanctioned due to their involvement in “disappearing” political opposition.
Domracheva will take the beginning 2016-2017 season off because she is having a child with Norwegian star Ole Einar Bjørndalen.