Russian website for hunting gay people finally taken down

The Russia website encouraged users to hunt and torture gay people in a "game" based on the Saw movies.

A website designed to help users to hunt and torture Russian gay people has finally been taken down by authorities after more than a year online.

The “game” was based on the Saw horror movie franchise, and encouraged users to upload the details of LGBT+ people, including photos and addresses, for others to find and attack.

The name of the operation was “Chechnya’s comeback,” a reference to the gay “purge” in Chechnya which saw at least 200 gay people held in secret prisons throughout the region in the summer of 2017 and at least 26 killed.

The website charged fees for users to get access to the information to “play the game,” and extorted those whose details were online, charging them fees to have their information removed.

According to the Russian LGBT Network: “A homophobic group began to operate in Russia, organising the hunt for homosexual, bisexual and transgender people, in the spring of 2018.”

Although the website has now been taken down, its creators have not been identified.

The Russian LGBT Network said: “Despite the media attention, law enforcement agencies have still not done anything to find the creators of this ‘game’ and bring them to justice.”

A lesbian Russian national said: “There are no protections for Russians. It can happen in broad daylight”

Hundreds attended a candlelight vigil to support gay men in Chechnya including Australian. (Julian Meehan)

The network is encouraging people to contact Russia’s Federal Security Service, the Investigation Committee and the Prosecutor General’s Office to say that “open calls to violence are unacceptable.”

A anonymous lesbian Russian national previously told PinkNews that the website is not the only one, and many exist on Russia’s dark web.

She said: “It is a very popular game for straight Russian men. It has been in action in some way since 2007, 2008, but it has normally taken place in closed groups.

“But now, there are no protections for Russians. It can happen in broad daylight.”

Russia’s “gay propaganda law” is used in a variety of ways to oppress the country’s LGBT+ community, including taking down websites and preventing protest and gathering in public.

The law was introduced in 2013, and since then there have been no anti-discrimination laws in Russia, meaning there is nothing to prevent websites specifically targeting LGBT+ people.