In the last few hours there has been another attack by Russia and Vladimir Putin against the freedom of the press. This time against a journalist named Elena Milashina, who was known for her reporting on events in the Republic of Chechnya.
Milashina, who is well known for her work for Novaya Gazeta, was travelling to the Chechen capital with lawyer Alexander Nemov when they were attacked.
During the attack, Milashina and Nemov endured brutal violence. Their attackers forcibly shaved Elena’s head, causing immense humiliation, and broke several of her fingers. Furthermore, they doused her head with green antiseptic liquid, a cruel act commonly employed during the USSR era to shame victims.
Amidst the assault, the attackers issued threats, warning the journalists to stop further reporting. The attackers also seized their phones and subjected them to severe beatings with sticks.
The human rights watchdog Memorial revealed the horrifying details of the attack on Telegram. According to the organization’s account, the attackers not only kicked Milashina and Nemov brutally, including in the face, but also threatened their lives, aiming a gun at their heads. Additionally, the perpetrators confiscated and destroyed their equipment and documents, inflicting further harm.
Novaya Gazeta, the media outlet Milashina worked for, is presently unauthorized to operate in Russia. In each piece published by the outlet, a notice cautions readers against sharing its content on social media within the country.
Prior to the incident, Milashina was investigating the abuse and horrors faced by gay men in Chechnya. However, her trip to Grozny with Nemov was intended to cover the case of Zarema Musayeva, a woman accused of assaulting a policeman. Ultimately, the Chechen judiciary sentenced Musayeva to five years in prison.
This shocking attack on Elena Milashina and Alexander Nemov underscores the ongoing challenges and dangers faced by journalists in Russia, where press freedom remains under severe threat.
The incident serves as a stark reminder of the importance of safeguarding the right to freedom of the press and protecting those who courageously bring crucial information to light.