The group behind a notorious, now banned, Russian website have continued their campaign of violence and intimidation, sending death threats to LGBT+ activists and announcing they intend to spread across Europe.
The original website, Пила (Saw), promoted the hunting of LGBT+ people. In exchange for a cash reward, the website encouraged people to hunt and kidnap members of the LGBT+ community. ‘Hunters’ could find personal details of believed LGBT+ people, such as names and addresses, for 200 rubles (€2.83). If someone wanted their names removed, they would have to pay the higher rate of 1,500 rubles (€21.19).
Yelena Grigoryeva, at the time a very vocal LGBT+ activist in Russia, was murdered after her details were listed on the site when a group of men stabbed and strangled her in St Petersburg. Following numerous reports and complaints, the website was banned last year.
Now, in an interview with The Sun, Svetlana Zakharova, another LGBT+ activist has described how the Russian group have continued to issue death threats despite the website being taken down.
Zakharova explained that she herself had received five threats from the group – “In the emails, they say things like ‘You will be next.’ The people behind these threats try to claim they have the support of the government. ‘We are the power and you will be next’, is the kind of language they use.”
Further to threatening activists, the group have also described their aim to carry out attacks across Europe under the collective name Knife International. Their email stated, “At the moment, the project will be based in five cities, these are Warsaw (Poland), Ostrava (Czech Republic), Berlin (Germany), Kharkov (Ukraine) and Arnhem (Netherlands) with further expansion throughout most of Europe. The main activity of the organisation will be the regulation of LGBT activism in Europe.”
With Russia’s views towards the LGBT+ community known as being notoriously problematic, Zakharova believes that the group have been empowered by the country’s gay propaganda laws.
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