Aleksandr Alesin, reporter and military analyst with the Minsk-based independent newspaper Belorusy i rynok (Belarusians and the Market), went missing and stopped answering his phone on November 25. The independent news website Charter 97 reported, citing unidentified sources, that Alesin was detained by agents of the Belarusian national security service, known as the KGB, at a coffee shop in Minsk, where he met with a friend.
On December 8, 2014, the security agency informed the journalist’s family that he was in KGB custody and charged with espionage and treason, his daughter, Olga Alesina, told the independent news website Nasha Niva. Olga Alesina said the KGB also told the family that her father was detained while meeting with a foreign diplomat, who the KGB did not name.
According to Nasha Niva, if convicted, Alesina could be imprisoned for up to 15 years.
Alesin is known for analytical reports on Belarus’ military-industrial complex, as well as commentary on developments in the conflict in neighboring Ukraine. In commentary for Charter 97, he spoke about deployment of Russian military jets and S-300 surface-to-air missiles as deterrence to NATO.