IWMF Outraged by Attack on Russian Journalist Elena Milashina

The International Women’s Media Foundation (IWMF) is horrified by the violent attack on Russian investigative journalist Elena Milashina in Chechnya. On July 4, on assignment for Novaya Gazeta, Milashina was traveling to trial of Zarema Musayeva when she and Musayeva’s attorney were stopped and brutally beaten by masked men.

While the identities of their assailants are unknown, this incident follows a pattern of state-sanctioned restrictions on freedom of speech in Russia. Throughout her career, Milashina has exposed governmental wrongdoing and human rights abuses – including Musayeva’s case, which relates to the exile of opposition activists. Preceding this attack, at least five of Milashina’s fellow journalists at Novaya Gazeta have been murdered since Vladimir Putin came to power (RSF), including 2002 IWMF Courage in Journalism Award winner Anna Politkovskaya.

As a result of the attack, Milashina suffered brain injury and multiple broken fingers. The attackers also demanded she unlock her phone and destroyed reporting equipment. This attack was meant to prevent Milashina from reporting and instill fear and psychological distress that would deter her and other journalists from continuing their work.

The mission of Russia’s current regime is clear: Eradicate press freedom and suppress the voices of opponents. The IWMF calls on the international community to speak out on these abuses – we cannot continue to treat them with impunity.

We wish Milashina a fast, full recovery and express our sincere gratitude to all Russian journalists bringing truth to light.