London vigil demands justice for murdered Russian LGBT+ activist Yelena Grigoryeva

Yelena Grigoryeva, a Russian LGBT+ activist who was brutally murdered near her home in late July, was honoured by a London vigil on Saturday.

Murdered Russian LGBT+ activist Yelena Grigoryeva holding up a sign at a protest
Image: Facebook, Murdered LGBT+ activist Yelena Grigoryeva would frequent protests in Russia

After having her name publicised on a ‘hunt-list’ designed to target LGBT+ people in Russia, Yelena Grigoryeva became a victim of unjust crime upon her murder on July 21, 2019. Grigoryeva was a prominent LGBT+ activist that would frequent protests on various socioeconomic issues and envisioned “a Russia which people will not be scared of, but be inspired by”.

The 41 year-old activist’s brutal death near her home has mobilised many to the streets; solo pickets were organised in St. Petersburg two days after her death, and August 18 saw a vigil outside the Russian Consulate in London to commemorate Grigoryeva’s life and demand justice for her brutal death.

“We commemorate and honour Yelena. But we also demand that the Kremlin jail her killers and ban this dangerous far-right group that is encouraging supporters to hunt down LGBT+ people,” said attendee Peter Tatchell of the human rights organisation, the Peter Tatchell Foundation.

Friends of Yelena Grigoryeva have stated that she had previously filed complaints to the police regarding the Saw-inspired website numerous times, which has been unsuccessfully blocked by the Russian government multiple times. Grigoryeva also complained about threats she had received and reported a sexual assault, none of which were addressed seriously by police forces, who refused to open an investigation.

Grigoryeva was a member of the St Petersburg-based Alliance of Heterosexuals and LGBT People for Equal Rights, and fellow campaigner Marina Ken proclaimed that “Yelena was killed because she was not afraid to tell the truth about the subjects that are traditionally [not spoken of] in Russia and on the country’s state TV channels.”

Campaigners in London on Saturday afternoon expressed their solidarity with Russian LGBT+ people and activists, adding that “Yelena’s murder comes on top of the witch-hunt of LGBT+ people in Chechnya and the intensified homophobic repression all across Russia since the passage of the 2013 law against so-called ‘gay propaganda‘.”

© 2019 GCN (Gay Community News). All rights reserved.

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