Journalist Elena Milashina of Russia’s independent newspaper Novaya Gazeta and Russian LGBT activist Igor Kochetkov, who together helped expose the widespread illegal detention, torture, and murder of gay men in Chechnya, will receive the 2018 Freedom Award at Freedom House’s 2018 Annual Awards dinner, on May 23, 2018, in Washington, D.C.

The organization will present its Leadership Award to Joe Biden, 47th Vice President of the United States; and Senator Bob Corker of Tennessee, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, in recognition of their commitment to democracy and their compassion for those suffering under authoritarianism.

“With remarkable courage, Elena Milashina and Igor Kochetkov helped bring Chechen authorities’ lawless, ultimately murderous campaign against gay men to the world’s attention,” said Michael J. Abramowitz, president of Freedom House. “Their work, and the frightening risks it brought, make them truly deserving of our highest honor, the Freedom Award, which since 1943 has recognized individuals who selflessly champion freedom and democracy.”

Past winners of the Freedom Award include Chen Guangcheng, Vaclav Havel, His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama, the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., Winston Churchill, and George C. Marshall.


Because of her reporting on Chechnya, Elena Milashina has been targeted by an intimidation campaign including repeated death threats. Her journalism has focused on key events in Russia’s recent history, including the 2006 assassination of fellow journalist Anna Politkovskaya.

Igor Kochetkov is founder of the LGBT…