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LGBT+ activist killed in Russia

July 23, 2019

Yelena Grigoryeva, a prominent local campaigner for LGBT+ rights, was found fatally stabbed in St. Petersburg. Fellow campaigners said she regularly received death threats, but police failed to act on the reports.

LGBT+ rights activists carry rainbow flags at a rally in St. Petersburg, Russia in May 2013
Image: picture-alliance/AP Photo/D. Lovetsky

A Russian activist who regularly protested for LGBT+ rights and opposition issues has been killed in St. Petersburg.

A woman was found dead with multiple stab wounds on Sunday evening in Russia's second-largest city, according to a statement from the Investigative Committee.

She was not immediately identified by authorities, but fellow campaigners and media reports later on Monday identified her as 41-year-old Yelena Grigoryeva.

Read more: Homophobia in Russia: 'I thought my daughter was a monster'

Dinar Idrisov, a rights activist and opposition campaigner who said he knew Grigoryeva, said that she was frequently sent death threats, but her appeals to police were to no avail.

"Recently, she had been a victim of violence and was regularly threatened with murder," Idrisov wrote on Facebook.

"Lena and her lawyer appealed to law enforcement both on account of violence and on account of threats, but there was no noticeable reaction," he added.

Gay in Russia: Freedom in dance

St. Petersburg police confirmed that she had reported being threatened, but said that the threats did not appear to pose a risk to her life and that they stemmed from domestic conflicts, according to the RBC media portal.

Authorities said late on Monday that they were working to identify the suspect or suspects responsible.

Grigoryeva not only participated in rallies for LGBT+ rights, but also took part in anti-war protests.

Gay marriage and civil unions are not legal in Russia, with public opinion polls showing that just under half of all Russians believe members of the LGBT+ community should have equal rights.

Bleak future for Russia's rights activists

rs/amp (AFP, Reuters)

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