One suspect has been arrested, local media reported.
"This tragedy is yet another painful episode in the ongoing plague of anti-LGBTQ violence and atrocities that have been taking place in Russia and the region,” Jay Gilliam, global director of the Human Rights Campaign, told The Washington Post.
Grigorieva’s killing prompted protests in Russia’s second-largest city on Tuesday, and demonstrators there connected her death to her activism.
“Yelena was killed because she was not afraid to tell the truth about the subjects that are traditionally silent in Russia and on the country’s state TV channels,” protester Marina Ken told the Associated Press.
Grigorieva, who was also active in a number of other causes, regularly received death threats and reported them to the police, who her friends say didn’t take them seriously, the Moscow Times reported. Officials at the Human Rights Campaign, which is the largest LGBTQ rights organization in the United States, called on Russian law enforcement to conduct “a thorough investigation.”
“Those same authorities and leaders have an obligation to protect those targeted because of their sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression and their allies,” Gilliam said. “Leaders must also publicly condemn this atrocity and uphold the human rights of LGBTQ people.”
But Russian activists say there is scant public support for the gay community, and open hostility is routine.
“Activists always face certain dangers,” Igor Kochetkov, who heads the Russian LGBT Networks and was also named on the Saw site, told the Independent. “Murder is certainly exceptional, but the threats come almost daily. Authorities ignore the sites and social media groups that distribute those threats and lists.”
Just days before she was killed, Grigorieva wrote a Facebook post about the site, NBC News reported. Saw was organizing a “hunt for homosexual, bisexual and transgender people,” she wrote, and, “Law enforcement agencies have still not done anything to find the creators of this ‘game’ and bring them to justice.”
Three days later, her body was found in bushes near her home.
The Russian news site Meduza, which operates from Latvia, reported that police have not yet said whether they intend to investigate Grigorieva’s death as a hate crime.