A prominent Russian journalist has become the latest reporter from Novaya Gazeta newspaper to be attacked. She was beaten late last night by unknown assailants in the Moscow suburb where she lives.
Elena Milashina, and her friend Ella Asoyan of Freedom House, a US-funded democracy-promoting institution, were attacked in the street near Ms Milashina's house shortly after midnight.
According to Ms Milashina, the assailants kicked and punched her and stole her wallet, and Ms Asoyan lost her laptop in the attack. The men tried to take Ms Milashina's laptop as well, but she tried to fight back, and the attack halted when passers-by intervened and the attackers fled.
Novaya Gazeta, an investigative newspaper co-owned by Alexander Lebedev, the financial backer of The Independent, is one of only a few media outlets in Russia to produce hard-hitting articles about corruption and human rights abuses.
A number of Novaya Gazeta journalists have been killed in recent years, most famously Anna Politkovskaya, who wrote dispatches about torture and rights abuses in Chechnya by Moscow-backed forces. She was gunned down in 2006. Like Ms Politkovskaya, Ms Milashina also focuses on Chechnya and the North Caucasus.
It was unclear if the latest attack was connected to her work.