A group of homophobes in Russia are threatening LGBT activists across Europe after initially targeting activists in their country. Last year, on their website, the group had shared the name of a prominent Russian activist who was stabbed to death soon after. Even though the website was taken down, it appears that the group has branched out to other countries.

The murder of Yelena Grigoryeva last year in Russia occurred soon after the group revealed her name along with those of other LGBT activists. Grigoryeva was stabbed and strangled at St. Petersburg last July. The police arrested three suspects. One of the suspects, Aleksei Volnyanko, admitted to the murder. However, the police claim that the murder had nothing to do with the victim's sexuality. The LGBT community in Russia believes that Volnyanko was used as a scapegoat in the political killing, as Grigoryeva was outspoken against the government in power.

The group's website popped up in 2018 and used the image of Jigsaw from the "Saw" movies. Since its appearance, violence against the LGBT community in the Russian region of Bashkortostan and in particular its capital Ufa increased substantially.

Regina Khisamova, from the city of Kazan west of Ufa, told The Sun that between 2018 and 2019, many LGBT people were hunted down and beaten openly. The attacks occurred after the homophobic group shared posters with the message "50 of the best homophobes from the Chechen Republic visiting the Bashkir capital."

Even though the website had been inactive since Grigoryeva's death, the group has remained active. Svetlana Zakharova, an LGBT activist in St. Petersburg, claims that the group had evolved and is now calling itself "Knife International." She received an e-mail in April which elaborated the motive of the group. Expanding from Russia, the group claims to gather "like-minded people" in Warsaw (Poland), Ostrava (Czech Republic), Berlin (Germany), Kharkiv (Ukraine) and Arnhem (Netherlands). Their main objective, according to the e-mail, is "the regulation of LGBT activism in Europe."

Similar to the death list which led to Grigoryeva's death, the new group could soon release another list of names of activists based in Europe.

Peter Tatchell, a British LGBT activist, claims that the Russian government supports the activities of these groups. The homophobic government intimidates the LGBT community indirectly through these groups.

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Russian homophobic gang threatens to target LGBT activists across Europe. (representational image) OZAN KOSE/AFP/Getty Images