LGBT activist Yelena Grigoryeva ‘murdered in St Petersburg’
LGBT+ campaigners in Russia have said that a woman found murdered in St Petersburg was well-known activist Yelena Grigoryeva.
Authorities said a 41-year-old woman was found dead with multiple stab wounds in the city on Sunday, but did not name her.
Now campaigners and local media have named the victim, saying she had received numerous death threats for vocalising her support for LGBT+ rights in Russia and for demanding the release of political prisoners in Ukraine.
“An activist of democratic, anti-war and LGBT movements Yelena Grigoryeva was brutally murdered near her house,” opposition campaigner Dinar Idrisov wrote on Facebook.
According to Idrisov and the Russian LGBT Network, Grigoryeva had received multiple death threats both on and offline but authorities displayed “no noticeable reaction” to her reports.
St Petersburg news site Fontanka said a suspect was arrested after Grigoryeva was found with stab wounds to her back and face. The report also said she appeared to have been strangled.
The Guardian reports that acquaintances of Grigoryeva said her name was on a list of LGBT+ activists published by a Russian website that called on people to take vigilante action against them.
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Russia’s internet watchdog banned the website last week.
The site was designed to help users to hunt and torture Russian gay people and was taken down by authorities after more than a year online.
The “game” was based on the Saw horror movie franchise, and encouraged users to upload the details of LGBT+ people, including photos and addresses, for others to find and attack.
The name of the operation was “Chechnya’s comeback,” a reference to the gay “purge” in Chechnya which saw at least 200 gay people held in secret prisons throughout the region in the summer of 2017 and at least 26 killed.
The website charged fees for users to get access to the information to “play the game,” and extorted those whose details were online, charging them fees to have their information removed.
According to the Russian LGBT Network: “A homophobic group began to operate in Russia, organising the hunt for homosexual, bisexual and transgender people, in the spring of 2018.”
Although the website has now been taken down, its creators have not been identified.