Imagine a coronavirus crisis with no journalists to report and hold authorities accountable.
Such a reality exists: in Russia, a journalist with Novaya Gazeta, Elena Milashina, has first been beaten; then threatened by the leader of the Russian region of Chechnya; been denied support and, finally, seen an article about COVID-19 with her byline removed from the newspaper’s website, following a demand by Russian federal authorities.
Elena Milashina’s case can be followed in English thanks to Novaya Gazeta’s newsletter, which has described a physical attack on her and lawyer Marina Dubrovina in February; Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov’s threats in a public video address in April; and the Russian government order to take down the article which had caused Kadyrov’s rage.
The now-deleted article in Novaya Gazeta, “Death from coronavirus is a lesser evil,” (an archived Russian version has been kept here) describes how citizens under COVID-19 lockdown in Chechnya hide the fact that they are ill out of fear of retribution from authorities, which have compared them to “terrorists”.
Novaya Gazeta reacted with a statement titled “Not an editorial choice: The Prosecutor General’s Office has demanded to block a Novaya [Gazeta] article, which was criticized by Ramzan Kadyrov”.
You can read the whole article here.
This project was funded in part through a U.S. Embassy grant. The opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed herein are those of the implementers/authors and do not necessarily reflect those of the U.S. Government.