Yelena Grigorieva, an LGBTQ activist in Russia, was found dead this week after her information appeared on a Russian website that encouraged people to hunt down and torture LGBTQ people. Grigorieva was found dead near her home with stab wounds and evidence that she had been strangled. Local media reports indicate that one man has been arrested in connection with Grigorieva’s murder.
The website, which appeared to be inspired by the “Saw” movies, promoted a “game” where users would upload photographs and other identifying information about LGBTQ people. Users were then encouraged to hunt down and torture those appearing on the website in the same way people were tortured in the “Saw” movies.
The page has now been blocked by Russian authorities, but Grigorieva’s name, along with the names of other prominent activists and journalists, had appeared on the website with her photograph and other identifying information.
Prior to her death, Grigorieva had posted about the website in a warning to the LGBTQ community. Grioryeva wrote that the site organizes a “hunt for homosexual, bisexual and transgender people,” and although it had been shut down several times previously, it kept popping back up.
“Law enforcement agencies have still not done anything to find the creators of this ‘game’ and bring them to justice,” Grigorieva wrote.
She also wrote that she had not yet heard of anyone actually being attacked by the group. Only a few days after she posted about the group, she was found killed.
“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, the global director of the Human Rights Campaign, told The Washington Post.
It is unclear whether Russian authorities will investigate Grigorieva’s death as a hate crime, but activists did not seem optimistic that things would change for LGBTQ activists in Russia.
“Activists always face certain dangers,” Igor Kochetkov, who heads the Russian LGBT Network and was named on the same website, told the Independent. “Murder is certainly exceptional, but the threats come almost daily. Authorities ignore the sites and social media groups that distribute those threats and lists.”