Elena Milashina is a prominent Russian investigative journalist and human rights defender who has been targeted on numerous occasions because of her work exposing human rights violations in Chechnya. Elena is facing death threats, intimidation, and physical attacks and there are serious concerns over her safety.
We must stand in solidarity with Elena and demand that the Russian authorities protect her and investigate threats made against Elena and newspaper Novaya Gazeta.
Since the publication of her article in Novaya Gazeta on 15 March 2021 “I served in the Chechen police force and I didn’t want to kill people” Elena’s situation has worsened, and Chechen officials began a defamation and intimidation campaign against Elena and Novaya Gazeta. Much of Elena’s journalistic work has focused on Chechnya, where human rights violations and impunity are rampant, but also where journalists and those who defend human rights are at serious risk of retaliation, threats, intimidation, smear campaigns and violence. In 2020 Elena was the target of a death threat made on Instagram from Ramzan Kadyrov, the Head of the Chechen Republic as well as being physically attacked by a mob in Chechen capital, Grozny.
Those who have threated and attacked Elena have acted with impunity. The risk to her safety is increasing. The Russian government must act to ensure that the threats and physical violence stop and are investigated, and that Elena can carry out her journalistic duties without fear of attack.