Free Stas Gorelik
In the early hours of Wednesday, August 12th, scholarly researcher Stas Gorelik was wrongfully arrested and jailed in Belarus. State security agents, presumably from the Belarusian KGB, entered his apartment, conducted a thorough search and took Stas to jail. As of August 14, Stas has been charged under Article 298 for “mass rioting”.
Stas is a PhD student at George Washington University (GWU). His research is not on Belarus, but rather on other countries. He is a Belarusian citizen who had to return home to Minsk in order to renew his U.S. visa. Unfortunately, U.S. policy changes related to the COVID-19 pandemic prevented him from renewing his visa and returning to Washington to resume his doctoral studies.
The arrest and detention of academic researchers is of great concern to not only friends and family but to the larger academic community. We strongly urge a reconsideration of the circumstances surrounding his arrest, and appeal to the authorities for his immediate and unconditional release.
AUGUST 15 UPDATE (10:00am EST): We can confirm the good news that Stas has been released, but we do not know whether there are any conditions attached to his release. We’ll update with more information, including about possible ways to help, as soon as we can.
Statements in Support
Joint statements from the Association for the Study of Nationalities and the Association for Slavic, East European, and Eurasian Studies
Ways to Help Stas
Tweet your support with the hashtag #FreeStas
Contact members of the media to get the word out about Stas’s detention
Sign an international petition calling for an end to police violence and for free elections in Belarus
Media Coverage of Stas’s Detention
BBC Sounds - August 13: Interview with Marisa Durham, Stas’s girlfriend, about the arrest; scroll to 2:38:30.
More Information on the Situation in Belarus
We will update this page as we learn more about the situation.
Political Science Department
George Washington University