Russian LGBTI activist Yelena Grigoryeva was killed in St Petersburg
Russian authorities on Thursday (25 July) announced they had detained a suspect in the murder of prominent LGBTI activist Yelena Grigoryeva.
Someone stabbed Grigoryeva, 41, at least seven times. Police found her body at an address in St. Petersburg on Sunday (21 July).
Her name appeared on a website that encouraged people to ‘hunt’ LGBTI people, activists, and journalists.
Investigators said they had detained a 38-year-old man from Kyrgyzstan.
Significantly, investigators said Grigoryeva knew the man. A statement says he was at the address her body was found on the night she was killed.
They labeled it a ‘sudden domestic conflict’ according to an online translation of the statement.
Police have not yet said what they plan to charge the man with.
The statement also labels Grigoryeva an ‘asocial person’ who ‘repeatedly drank alcoholic beverages’.
Misha Tumasov of the Russian LGBT Network told Gay Star News police often tried everything possible not to open a case based on sexual orientation or gender identity.
He said there have been almost zero official cases in the last few years, even though rights groups show LGBT Russians suffer every day.
What’s more, Tumasov said the police statement was very ‘Soviet’.
‘The wording of an antisocial style of her life and alcohol … is to try to convince the reader that she deserves the death’ he said.
Grigoryeva was an activist with the St. Petersburg-based Alliance of Heterosexuals and LGBT People for Equal Rights.
A source told GSN that Grigoryeva, who identified as bisexual, had a ‘real drive for social justice’.
She regularly attended protests for a variety of issues, including LGBTI rights, domestic violence survivors, Crimean Tatars, and more.
Prior to the weekend, Grigoryeva had received numerous death threats, both online and off. They became more frequent after her name appeared on the Saw website.
‘She was a very caring person,’ a friend said of her.
Grigoryeva leaves behind a 20-year-old daughter.
‘How much more of our blood will be shed in Russia?
Fellow Russian LGBTI rights advocate Zhenya Svetski detailed how he fears for his life following Grigorieva’s murder.
Both LGBTI rights advocates appeared on now-shut down website that encouraged people to ‘hunt’ LGBTI people, activists, and journalists.
Inspired by the horror franchise Saw it published the personal information of LGBTI people.
The website offered legal protections to users and said they could do ‘anything but kill them’.
‘I am on the list of 10 Saw victims’ Svetski wrote on Twitter.
‘How much more of our blood will be shed in Russia?’ He asked.
While homosexuality is not illegal in Russia, the country introduced a ‘gay propaganda‘ law in 2013.
It prevents the positive representation of LGBTI issue on any kind of media platform. The Russian government argued it stopped the ‘promotion of nontraditional sexual relations to minors’.
Reports of a group operating and encouraging the ‘hunting’ of gay people first appeared last spring.
Tumasov told Gay Star News whatever the nature of Grigoryeva’s death, ‘homophobia should be stopped and such things like Saw website must never appear at all.’
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