Famous Russian journalist, Elena Milashina, along with lawyer Marina Dubrovina were assaulted by a gang of men and women in the lobby of a hotel in Grozny, the capital of Chechnya.
Milashina is well-known for exposing the kidnap and torture of gay Chechen men. Chechnya, a federal subject of Russia, has been ruled by President Kadyrov for thirteen years. He has a record of serious accusations of human rights abuses, such as torturing and kidnapping opponents, including gay men. Notably, President Kadyrov is a faithful supporter of Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Milashina reported that the attack on her and Dubrovina in the Kontinent hotel was coordinated and planned. “These were thugs, provocateurs; female thugs carried out this punitive attack. They were young women, girls, and the men were standing close by and giving them instructions,” she told the BBC. Milashina also stated that she believed the attack was due to her reporting; she pointed to previous threats she had received from President Kadyrov personally as well as other Chechen authorities.
The two women reported the attack to the authorities and were treated in the local hospital. Apparently there was a large group of around fifteen people who hit them in the face, threw them to the ground, and smashed their heads into the ground.
Milashina released her story uncovering the abuses in 2017, and she worked as the principal reporter for the Novaya Gazeta, an independent Russian newspaper who has had six of its reporters murdered over the years. She had to flee Russia after the story hit Western media due to fears for her life.
Milashina has received a number of accolades for her reporting, including an International Woman of Coverage award presented by the U.S. State Department.
Sources: BBC, 2/7/20; The New Yorker, 6/10/17; Russian LGBT Network Report, 2017