Yelena Grigoryeva murdered after being listed in anti-LGBTQ site
A Russian activist, Yelena Grigoryeva, was murdered in St. Petersburg last July 21 after her name appeared on a website that called for the deaths of LGBTQ activists and personalities.
The 41-year old Grigoryeva, who worked for the St. Petersburg-based Alliance of Heterosexuals and LGBT People for Equal Rights, was found near her home stabbed multiple times.
A 40-year old man from Bashkortostan in western Russia, has been arrested as a suspect. However, it’s unclear if investigators will categorize Grigoryeva’s death as a hate crime.
Yelena Grigoryeva received many death threats
Grigoryeva was well known for defending LGBTQ rights, as well as participating in anti-war and pro-democracy demonstrations. She also opposed Russia’s annexation of Crimea.
She also received death threats, and had been “a victim of violence” and “regularly threatened with murder,” said a fellow activist named Dinar Idrisov on Facebook.
“An activist of democratic, anti-war and LGBT movements Yelena Grigoryeva was brutally murdered near her house,” opposition campaigner Dinar Idrisov had announced on Facebook.
Before she was killed, Grigoryeva had filed several police reports but “none of them concerned possible threats to her life,” said the Russian Interior Ministry in the region in a statement to the Interfax news agency.
“The reports concerned various domestic conflicts involving the victims’ acquaintances,” said the ministry said.
Idrisov said that Grigoryeva and her attorney had gotten “no noticeable reaction” from local police to her reports on the threats and physical violence.
Yelena Grigoryeva listed on anti-LGBTQ website
She was also listed on an anti-LGBTQ website that called on visitors to hunt down LGBTQ people, said Idrisov and local photojournalist George Markov.
The website was designed like a “game” based on the Saw horror movie franchise. The game dubbed itself “Chechnya’s Comeback,” in reference to the purge of LGBTQ people in Chechnya in 2017 that saw at least 26 killed and at least 200 held in secret prisons.
It encouraged visitors to upload details of LGBTQ people, including photos and addresses, so that others can find and attack them. The website charged users a fee to access the information and to “play the game.”
It also extorted those whose information were on the website to have them removed. This website, which was active for more than a year online, was later blocked last week. The website’s creators have not been identified.
In 2013, Russia had outlawed “gay propaganda,” which intensified hostility against the LGBTQ community with an increase in cases of LGBTQ individual being detained and tortured in Russia.