By the evening of Tuesday, July 4, more than 10 hours after it became known about the attack on journalist Elena Milashina and lawyer Alexander Nemov in Chechnya, the investigating authorities had not opened a criminal case.
Chechnya's reaction is a "daring provocation"
Of the representatives of the Chechen authorities, almost no one gave a public comment. The head of Chechnya, Ramzan Kadyrov, spoke very succinctly. The essence of his comment comes down to one word - "We'll figure it out." He stated that he had already given instructions to "understand" the Chechen security forces.
Those, in turn, have not yet figured it out. And the procedural decision has not yet been made.
“The Ministry of Internal Affairs for the Chechen Republic is conducting an investigation into the attack on Elena Milashina and Alexander Nemov in the Akhmatovsky district of Grozny. The audit will be made a procedural decision. Currently, operational-search measures are being taken to identify and detain the persons involved in this attack, ”the press service of the Ministry of Internal Affairs for the Chechen Republic reported.
Apparently, there are still difficulties with identifying faces. According to the Ombudsman for Chechnya, the attackers traveled in a car without a license plate, according to the Ombudsman for Human Rights in Chechnya Mansur Soltaev, it has not yet been possible to find out who it was. He had previously said that the attack was a "daring, subversive provocation" against Chechnya.
Whose provocation it was, he did not say. But Chechen Press Minister Akhmed Dudayev has a version, who saw in the attack on the journalist and lawyer "the style of Western intelligence services." He has several versions of why the "Western intelligence services" needed this. First of all, to denigrate the image of Chechnya as the safest region of the Russian Federation. On the other hand, perhaps, as he believes, the insidious villains are preparing in this way for the NATO summit in Vilnius. Well, or it’s just beneficial for someone to “inflate the trial” of the mother of Chechen human rights activists, Zarema Musaeva, whose sentence Milashina was going to.
Moscow's reaction - "everyone is worried"
So far, no criminal case has been opened by any of the existing law enforcement agencies in Russia. However, everyone says that the situation is, of course, very serious, requiring the adoption of "energetic measures."
- The head of the Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation, Alexander Bastrykin, demanded that the head of the Chechen department of the Investigative Committee make a report on the attack on Milashina and Nemov, as well as conduct an audit . He did not instruct anyone to initiate a criminal case.
- State Duma deputy Nina Ostanina proposed introducing criminal liability for those who attack journalists. Such an article already exists.
- The HRC and the profile committee of the State Duma will ask the Prosecutor General's Office and the Investigative Committee to take the case under special control .
- The Kremlin considers the incident very serious and requires vigorous action , verification and investigation, said presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov.
- The Ministry of Digital Development promised to support Milashina and Nemov.
- Valery Fadeev, head of the Presidential Human Rights Council, and Alexander Khinshtein, chairman of the State Duma Committee on Information Policy , promised to send appeals to the Prosecutor General's Office and the Investigative Committee to take the case under special control.
- “ We are studying the situation , no one turned to us for help,” said Vladimir Solovyov, head of the Union of Journalists of Russia.
A similar situation was with the attack on the editor-in-chief of Novaya Gazeta, Dmitry Muratov. After he was doused with paint at the Kazansky railway station, the case was never initiated. The above-mentioned State Duma deputy Khinshtein, 7 days after the attack, stated that a case under the article on hooliganism would probably be opened, but even this was not done. The journalists conducted an independent investigation , during which they quickly found out that the attacker, while studying at Moscow State University, founded the organization of military veterans "Courage" and became close to the ultra-right nationalists. In 2011, he was elected to the central council of the Union of Russian Paratroopers. A few years later, he appears in the same frame at a commemorative event, along with the then commander-in-chief of the Airborne Forces, Vladimir Shamanov, who stated that the paratroopers had "nothing to do" with the attack on Muratov.
How the authorities react when they attack pro-government media workers
The situation is different with attacks on employees of the pro-government media. For example, with the attack on the journalist of the channel "Russia 1" Pavel Brykin. According to investigators, he was prevented from broadcasting "by coercion to refuse to disseminate information, combined with violence" when Brykin was preparing a material about the activities of the arrested mayor of Vladivostok Igor Pushkarev. The criminal case was initiated immediately after Brykin's appeal to law enforcement agencies - on the same day. The course of the investigation of the criminal case was immediately taken under personal control by Deputy Prosecutor General of the Russian Federation Yuri Gulyagin.
Another example is in September 2022 against a correspondent for the Vesti. The call center of the Rossiya 24 TV channel was attacked near the court building in Moscow, where the issue of the arrest of Stanislav Smirnov, the president of the Notary Chamber of the Moscow Region, accused of taking a bribe, was being decided. A criminal case was immediately initiated, and the next day two suspects were detained.
On November 30, another employee of the Vesti. Duty department." He filmed a report on the activities of one of the private service companies on the street. Peter Romanov in the southeast of Moscow. During the filming, the security guard who was in the indicated premises began to interfere with the legal professional activities of journalists and used physical force against the correspondent. The criminal case was opened on the same day.
Attack on Milashina and Nemov
On July 4, in Chechnya, masked men attacked Novaya Gazeta journalist Yelena Milashina and lawyer Alexander Nemov, who defends Zarema Musayeva. The attackers stopped the car in which the journalist and the lawyer were traveling from the airport to Grozny, severely beat them and destroyed their equipment and documents.
According to Milashina, she was forced to eat earth while she lay face down on it, beaten with polypropylene pipes, and tried to break her fingers when she refused to unlock her phone.