Five Russian LGBT organizations and groups (Russian LGBT Network, Alliance of heterosexuals and LGBT for equality, “Coming Out” LGBT group, LGBT group “Stimul”, International LGBT film festival “Side by Side”) and crowdfunding platform All Out teamed up to counteract the homophobic project “Saw” together. The coalition launched a petition demanding to establish who is behind the project calling for violence and killings of homosexual, bisexual and transgender people in Russia. The coalition also calls for a thorough investigation into the murder of civic activist Elena Grigorieva.
Alexander Belik, lawyer at the Russian LGBT Network, emphasizes that launching a joint petition is a logical continuation and addition to the campaign to send individual appeals to law enforcement agencies. “The petition is more a socio-political method of pressure than legal. I consider it important to combine them, so I urge everyone who sent an appeal to sign a petition and vice versa. The petition shows the level of support, individual appeal - obliges the authorities to conduct an inspection.
I want to note once again that we have no evidence of a connection between the murder and the activities of the “Saw”. But “Saw” is bad not because of the murder, but because of the very fact of the threats that create a sense of impunity for violence against LGBT people. I believe that the more of us there are, the greater our chance of achieving a fair punishment of those responsible.”
Board Member of the Russian LGBT Network Svetlana Zakharova. “In Russia, hate crimes against LGBT people are not uncommon. Most often, no one knows about them: people are afraid to contact the police and do not believe that they can protect them, they are afraid that everyone will know about their sexual orientation or gender identity. But I do not think that in Russia there is an extensive network of homophobes with a single focal point. There is a group of people calling for violence - this is "Saw." And there is homophobia, actively promoted and strengthened at the state level. These two factors actually lead to increased violence. And in order to stop it, we must work to ensure that law enforcement authorities finally start working."
On July 17, the Russian LGBT Network posted on its resources a call to contact law enforcement agencies and demand that the people behind the homophobic “Saw” project be found and held accountable. Over the past two weeks, more than 300 people have contacted the Federal Security Service, the Investigative Committee and the Prosecutor General's Office and have sent us the numbers of their appeals. If you find calls for violence unacceptable, help us get law enforcement to do their job. It will take you no more than 15 minutes. Detailed instructions are here.
Information about the so-called "homophobic game" Saw "appeared in the spring of 2018. Both individual activists and human rights organizations have repeatedly appealed to law enforcement agencies with a demand to block the resource and bring those responsible to justice. The site was blocked several times, but each time it appeared again - the police did not try to find out who was behind the mass calls for violence. The murder of civic activist Elena Grigorieva, whose name was on the "Saw" list, drew attention to a homophobic group and to the problem of systematic violence against LGBT people in Russia.