Russian LGBT activist stabbed and killed after being listed on 'Saw'-inspired website urging violence

Russian LGBT activist stabbed and killed after being listed on 'Saw'-inspired website urging violence

A Russian LGBT activist was fatally stabbed earlier this week after being listed on a website that encourages people to "hunt" individuals who advocate for gay rights, according to reports.

CNN reported that friends and fellow activists confirmed Yelena Grigoryeva's death on Tuesday. The confirmation came just days after Russia's Investigative Committee, a state body that handles major crimes, reported that a woman had been found dead with multiple knife wounds. 

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Grigoryeva, 41, reportedly campaigned on many issues, including LGBT rights and freedom for political prisoners. Olga Smirnova, a friend and fellow activist, told CNN that Grigoryeva was also involved in protests opposing Russia's annexation of Crimea and endorsement of the conflict in eastern Ukraine. 

Grigoryeva became worried about her safety after discovering that her name was posted on a Russian website that advocated for vigilante action against LGBT activists. The site is inspired by the movie "Saw," a movie that portrays torture in many of its scenes, NBC News reported

"We don't know who is behind the project, but they collected personal information about LGBT activists like their names, photos and addresses, and published it online, and they called for people to hunt or to kill them," a spokeswoman for the Russian LGBT Network told CNN. 
 
"The situation is scary, especially for LGBT activists. People feel targeted and they feel that the police are not going to help."
 
Smirnova noted that Grigoryeva had always kept the group informed about the threats she received, adding that not all the threats were anonymous. 
 
"This is undoubtedly a premeditated hate crime," she said. "But I cannot say with certainty that, for example, this is only over an LGBT agenda or whether a political agenda which was the motive."
 
Grigoryeva last week shared a Facebook post about the website targeting her. She said that that the site had been launched in 2018 and had gone through phases of being shut down, NBC News noted, but always popped back up.
 
“Law enforcement agencies have still not done anything to find the creators of this ‘game’ and bring them to justice,” Grigoryeva wrote on July 18. 
 
Her Facebook post detailed that the website posted personal data, “including photos and addresses,” of people presumed to be LGBT activists. 
 
St. Petersburg police said that Grigoryeva had reported being threatened multiple times, but that the reports didn't appear to be substantial risks to her life, NBC News noted.  
 
Svetlana Zakharova, communications manager and a board member of the Russian LGBT Network, said that she doesn't think the police will investigate the matter. 
 
“Unfortunately, I don’t think so, and I’m sure that even if it is a homophobic hate crime, the hate motive is not going to be taken into account," she told NBC News.
 
Russia decriminalized homosexuality in 1993, but has since enacted other laws and policies cracking down on LGBT rights.