A pair of Russian university students staged a protest at their graduation ceremony Thursday in support of Novaya Gazeta journalist Yelena Milashina, who was brutally attacked in Chechnya earlier this week.
St. Petersburg State University student Yelizaveta Antonova and her fellow classmate displayed a poster of Milashina in a hospital gown with her face visibly bruised, both hands bandaged and her head shaved and covered in green dye.
The image was accompanied by the caption: “The face of Russian journalism.”
Milashina, who has extensively covered Chechen rights abuses for the disbanded independent newspaper Novaya Gazeta, was beaten by a group of assailants shortly after arriving in the Chechen capital of Grozny on Tuesday.
“Fingers broken in 14 places is the price we pay now for the opportunity to tell people the truth,” said Antonova, who graduated from St. Petersburg State University with a degree in journalism.
“We’d like to support Yelena Milashina on behalf of the graduates who care,” she added.
The two students ended their protest — which reportedly lasted 25 minutes — after they were warned that police were on their way to question them.