One of Russia’s leading human rights activists, Igor Kalyapin, was assaulted in the Chechen capital, Grozny, on Wednesday night by masked men who beat him and doused him in eggs, cakes, and green paint.
Kalyapin, whose nongovernmental group, the Committee for the Prevention of Torture, is known for investigating abuses in the region, was in the city to meet a member of the Chechen Human Rights Council, Heda Saratova, and some journalists, according to his colleague Dmitriy Piskunov.
The activist had just checked in to the Hotel Grozny City when “employees of the hotel, accompanied by armed police officers, forced Kalyapin out of his room and onto the street just outside of the hotel,” Piskunov wrote in an email to The Intercept.
There, he was set upon by 15 masked men in civilian clothes. Local journalists shared images of the activist outside the hotel in the immediate aftermath of the attack.
Kalyapin, who said that he was not seriously injured, filed a police report, but it is no secret that his group’s work is not welcomed by Ramzan Kadyrov, the Kremlin-appointed leader of the Muslim-majority region.
The Russian news site Grani obtained video recorded just before the attack in which employees of the hotel could be heard telling Kalyapin that they live very happily under Kadyrov’s rule.
Just last week, a press tour of Chechnya organized by Kalyapin’s group was attacked, also by masked men, who beat the participants and set their vehicles on fire.
Kalyapin is also a member of the Russian president’s Council for Civil Society and Human Rights, and that group issued an angry statement late Wednesday calling the assault on him an outrage.