A St. Petersburg resident found guilty of murdering LGBT activist Elena Grigorieva was handed eight years and one month behind bars. Alexey Volnyanko stabbed her 17 times after a row broke out during a street drinking session.
Forty-one-year-old Grigorieva was found dead in July 2019 in Russia’s second city. According to human rights activist Dinar Idrisov, she was the subject of violent and multiple threats due to her LGBT activism before being “brutally killed near her home.”
The convicted murderer, Volnyanko, confessed to the crime, claiming that the murder took place after “sharing alcoholic beverages.” The investigation revealed that he stabbed her multiple times, including in the back and face, before fleeing the scene.
According to Volnyanko, he committed the murder while being drunk and after she insulted him, and did not suggest that the crime was motivated by her sexual orientation or activism.
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Grigorieva was murdered after being included on a list called ‘Saw’, an online website which published the personal data of LGBT people and activists, including their photos and place of residence. The website, designed in the style of the horror movie with the same title, promised to reward those who attacked people on the list.
At the beginning of 2019, Grigorieva came out as bisexual, and began to receive death threats. According to her friends, speaking to Russian newspaper Komsomolskaya Pravda, the police ignored the threats.
Although a big part of her later life, LGBT activism was not the only political cause Grigorieva was a part of. In 2017, she was part of the far right People’s National Party, who hold the belief that Hitler launched WWII to avenge the death of the Tsar by “Jewish Bolsheviks.” According to Idrisov, over time, her views changed from “nationalist to liberal and pro-LGBT.” Following her death, there were rumors that some of her former “nationalist comrades” had threatened her life.
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