Chechnya: journalist and lawyer attacked

Russian journalist Yelena Milashina and lawyer Alexander Nemov have been attacked and beaten by unknown assailants in Chechnya. They were on their way to the sentencing of Zarema Musayeva, the mother of two Chechen human rights activists, who was abducted from Nizhny Novgorod and taken to Grozny in early 2022. Musayeva was sentenced to five and a half years in prison. Commentators see the events as significant from several perspectives.

Avvenire (IT) /

Kadyrov’s methods

Avvenire comments on the ruling against Zarema Musayeva, which Yelena Milashina and Alexander Nemov were unable to hear:

“This is a political verdict. Musayeva is the wife of Saidi Yangulbaev, a former judge of the Chechen Supreme Court. But above all she is the mother of Abubakar Yangulbaev, a human rights activist, and Ibragim Yangulbaev, co-founder of the opposition movement Adat. They are known as two of the fiercest opponents of Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov. ... A settling of accounts that took place according to Chechen rules but on Russian territory, and about which Kadyrov wanted as little to be said as possible.”

Marta Ottaviani
La Repubblica (IT) /

Same old story

Vera Politkovskaya, the daughter of Anna Politkovskaya, the Russian journalist murdered in 2006, writes in La Repubblica:

“When I think of my own experience, I am unfortunately certain that in the end no one will be held accountable for this crime — despite the surprising reaction of the public and Putin’s journalists, who expressed outrage following the statements by officials and MPs. However, if we try to get the big picture we must observe quite banally that today was just another ‘normal’ day in Russia. One person was beaten and maimed and another innocent person ended up in prison for purely political reasons. This is nothing new. ... Nothing has changed.”

Vera Politkowskaja
Maxim Trudolyubov (RU) /

Wagging a finger at Chechnya’s leader

On Facebook, journalist Maxim Trudolyubov explains why Moscow is criticising the attack:

“Surprisingly, the authorities and even official human rights activists have been ordered to express concern about this crime. Perhaps this shows — as has already been the case in the past — the Kremlin’s willingness to use journalists and genuine human rights activists to wag its finger in Kadyrov’s direction. Because the latter did not seem particularly eager to engage in a battle with Prigozhin’s troops. But perhaps it was also the realisation that lifting all restrictions would ultimately hit Putin’s own system. This became all too clear during the Wagner uprising.”

Maxim Trudoljubow
Echo (RU) /

Lawlessness leads to collapse

Commenting in a Telegram post republished by Echo, ex-oligarch and Putin critic Mikhail Khodorkovsky sees symptoms of a state collapse in Russia:

“Putin had no problem bombing Grozny but he didn’t take responsibility for integrating Chechnya into the Russian legal framework. ... Instead, he decided to feed the local bandits so that they would sort it all out among themselves and he wouldn’t have to worry about anything. As a result, the bandit enclave he created spread throughout the country. And what happens to a country when the laws are no longer respected? When Kadyrov’s people who are not controlled by anyone and do what they want? ... Then comes the inevitable disintegration of the state. ... Without Putin’s departure it cannot be stopped.”

Mikhail Khodorkovsky