Yelena Grigoryeva, who had reportedly received death threats, regularly campaigned for human rights in Russia. File photo.

A prominent LGBT rights campaigner has been found dead with multiple stab wounds and signs of strangulation in the Russian city of St. Petersburg, BBC reported.

The body of a 41-year-old woman was found in bushes near her home in the city on Sunday, local police said.

Relatives and friends later named the victim as Yelena Grigoryeva, Russian news website Fontanka reported.

Grigoryeva, who had reportedly received death threats, regularly campaigned for human rights in Russia, the BBC report said.

In a post on Facebook on Monday, activist Dinar Idrisov said his friend Grigoryeva had been “brutally killed near her home.”

“She had recently been the victim of violence and death threats,” he wrote, adding that she had filed several complaints with the police.

Police have not confirmed the reports of death threats and it is not clear if the attack was linked to her activism. A suspect has been detained in connection with her murder, according to Fontanka.

Along with campaigning for LGBT rights, Grigoryeva also demonstrated against Russia’s annexation of Ukraine’s Crimea peninsula, the ill treatment of prisoners and a number of other human rights causes, the BBC report said.

In January last year, Russian opposition activist Konstantin Sinitsyn, 53, was found dead near his home in St Petersburg after suffering head injuries. Police said the attack appeared to be a robbery.

Last August, dozens of LGBT rights activists were arrested during a banned protest in St. Petersburg to promote the rights of sexual minorities.

In 2013, Russia passed legislation banning the spreading of what it described as gay propaganda.

The toll on dissent since President Vladimir Putin took office in 2000 has grown steadily — causing some, such as the late US senator John McCain, to label him “a killer and a thug.”

The following list is just a fraction of those who opposed Putin’s policies, who would die violently and mysteriously:


A Russian politician who was attempting to prove the Russian state was behind the bombing of an apartment block, he was killed in an assassination by a single shot to the chest in 2003, just hours after his political organization, Liberal Russia, had been recognized by the Justice Ministry as a party.


Paul Klebnikov was the chief editor of the Russian edition of Forbes. He had written about corruption and dug into the lives of wealthy Russians.He was killed in a drive-by shooting in an apparent contract killing in Moscow in 2004.


Former Russian spy Alexander Litvinenko died in November 2006, almost three weeks after drinking tea poisoned with radioactive polonium-210.


Anna Politkovskaya was a prominent journalist at the Novaya Gazeta newspaper who was famous for her critical coverage of the war in Chechnya. She was shot dead in her apartment block in 2006.


Mikhail Beketov suffered brain damage and lost a leg after a brutal assault in 2008 following his reporting and campaign against a highway project in Moscow. He died five years later.


Lawyer Sergei Magnitsky died in police custody in November 2009 after allegedly being denied medical treatment and brutally beaten.


Prominent human rights activist Natalia Estemirova was found dead hours after being kidnapped on 15 July, 2009, in the Chechen capital, Grozny.


Freelance journalist Anastasia Baburova was shot and killed in 2009 on a sidewalk in central Moscow as she attempted to intervene when a human rights lawyer Stanislav Markelov, renowned for his work on abuses in Chechnya, was also murdered by a masked gunman.


Intrepid reporter Oleg Kashin was viciously beaten by two unidentified attackers outside his home in November 2010 and narrowly escaped death. He spent days in an induced coma with a fractured skull, and had one finger partially amputated. He survived and eventually recovered.


Khadzhimurad Kamalov, founder of a newspaper in Russia’s North Caucasus critical of authorities, was gunned down outside his office in Makhachkala, capital of the Dagestan region, in December 2011.


Outspoken Putin critic Boris Berezovsky was found dead at his Berkshire home in March 2013 in an apparent suicide, although an inquest into his death recorded an open verdict.


Boris Nemtsov was a former deputy prime minister of Russia under Boris Yeltsin who went on to become a big critic of Putin. He was shot four times in the back just yards from the Kremlin as he walked home from a restaurant in 2015.

— Sources: AP,, BBC

Leave a comment