Meduza has been unable to contact our special correspondent Maxim Solopov for more than 12 hours. For the past several days, he has reported on the Belarusian presidential elections from central Minsk, where police violently suppressed opposition demonstrations on Sunday night. Maxim stopped responding to messages around 1 a.m. on August 10. Neither Meduza’s newsroom nor his family has been able to determine what happened to him.
The last time we were in contact with Solopov, he was near the Maxim Gorky Theater on Valadarskaha Street in Minsk, not far from Independence Avenue. He reported that local police were blocking people in the area, firing tear gas, and arresting demonstrators violently.
According to Russian news outlet Daily Storm, police officers beat up Maxim before he disappeared. He was presumably arrested and deposited in a police van afterward. Russia’s embassy in Minsk says it has received no official information from the Belarusian authorities that any Russian citizens were arrested or injured during Sunday’s demonstrations.
Meduza has contacted the Foreign Ministries of Russia and Latvia (where Meduza is headquartered), police departments and ambulance services in Minsk, and human rights organizations, and even tried to reach the Belarusian presidential administration, but we have been unable to determine what happened to our journalist.
Regardless of who won Sunday’s election, Meduza demands that the Belarusian authorities locate our colleague, Maxim Solopov. If reports that he was beaten are confirmed, we will seek fair punishment for all those responsible.
Meduza also demands the release of all journalists arrested in Minsk during Sunday’s unrest.
If you have information about Maxim Solopov’s whereabouts, please contact us at the following email address: [email protected]