The frightening Russian website promoted it as a “game” — identify gay people, upload their photos and information to a database and then proceed to hunt them down and torture them, as in the gruesome “Saw” movies that inspired the site’s name.
The page was blocked in Russia last week, but not before the names of prominent journalists and activists began appearing there. Yelena Grigorieva was among them. The 41-year-old was a fierce advocate for LGBTQ rights, and on Saturday she was found dead near her home in St. Petersburg with eight stab wounds and signs that she had been strangled.
One suspect has been arrested, local media reported.
The grisly attack is the latest in a spate of violence and threats against the gay community in Russia, where in 2013 the government outlawed “gay propaganda” — a ban that a European court later said“reinforced stigma and prejudice and encouraged homophobia.”
"This tragedy is yet another painful episode in the ongoing plague of anti-LGBTQ violence and atrocities that have been taking place in Russia and the region,” Jay Gilliam, global director of the Human Rights Campaign, told The Washington Post.
Grigorieva’s killing prompted protests in Russia’s second-largest city on Tuesday, and demonstrators there connected her death to her activism.
“Yelena was killed because she was not afraid to tell the truth about the subjects that are traditionally silent in Russia and on the country’s state TV channels,” protester Marina Ken told the Associated Press.
Grigorieva, who was also active in a number of other causes, regularly received death threats and reported them to the police, who her friends say didn’t take them seriously, the Moscow Times reported. Officials at the Human Rights Campaign, which is the largest LGBTQ rights organization in the United States, called on Russian law enforcement to conduct “a thorough investigation.” Read more via Washington Post