A Russian LGBTQ+ activist has been killed after her name was listed on a “gay-hunting” website.
The body of Yelena Grigoryeva was found with multiple stab wounds in the bushes near her home on Sunday, NBC News reports. Grigoryeva was a prominent activist for LGBTQ+ rights in the Russia, a country that criminalizes queer advocacy under “gay propaganda” laws and has sanctioned human rights abuses against LGBTQ+ people without intervention. She frequently organizing with the Alliance of Heterosexuals and LGBT for Equality. She was also active in anti-war and pro-democracy movements, according to NPR, demonstrating against Russia’s annexation of Crimea. She was 41.
Three days before she was found dead, Grigoryeva posted on Facebook that her personal information had been shared on a website that posts data about “presumably LGBT+ activists” in order to organize a “hunt for homosexual, bisexual, and transgender people” and promised rewards to individuals who successfully carried out an attack on those listed.
“The Russian LGBT network has repeatedly tried to find people affected by the actions of this group, but failed,” Grigoryeva wrote in her Facebook post. “Law enforcement agencies have still not done anything to find the creators of this ‘game’ and bring them to justice.”
The “gay-hunting” site had been active on and off since 2018. It had been shut down multiple times but has continued to reappear. Investigators are now looking into Grigoryeva’s case, but Svetlana Zakharova, the communications manager and board member of the Russian LGBT Network, told NBC News that she isn’t very optimistic about them shutting down the website.
“We have this situation in Russia — even when you go to police to file cases, police can refuse to register the case,” Zakharova said. “Yes, people are very worried — well I would say that the fact that this website exists for so long without any reaction from the authorities is very telling; it tells a lot about homophobia in Russians' institutional levels.”