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She broke the story of Chechnya’s anti-gay purge. Now, she says she has to flee Russia.

Adam Taylor writes, "Novaya Gazeta is no stranger to hostility and controversy. The crusading Russian newspaper is known for powerful investigations — and in Russia, this sort of work can provoke an angry reaction [...] 

Even so, the wave of threats now being made against the paper and its reporters comes as a shock even to those who work there. This week, the newspaper put out a statement that warned religious leaders in the Russian republic of Chechnya were attempting to incite people to “massacre journalists” after a meeting in a Grozny mosque on April 3.

Shortly after the statement was published, Novaya Gazeta's website went down in a suspected distributed denial-of-service attack.

This backlash had been sparked by an April 1 story from reporter Elena Milashina and her colleague Irina Gordienko. In March, Milashina had discovered evidence that gay men were being detained, tortured and even killed in an anti-homosexual purge in Chechnya.

After spending weeks checking the story with her sources, Milashina says they could confirm that hundreds of people had been detained; at least three are now thought to have died.

"After the second article was published, I had to be very careful while moving between home and work in Moscow. I finished all the important things that I had to do and left Moscow for a while. Now I think I will leave the country for a while, too. It doesn't matter that Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov announced clearly that journalists are under the Kremlin's protection and that no one can kill them for their professional duty. The threat still exists," said Milashina."


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