On April 20, Kristina Abramicheva, who heads the Alliance of Heterosexuals and LGBT for Equal Rights in the Bashkortostan capital, Ufa, posted an alarming warning on her Facebook page. "In Ufa there is a hunt for gays going on under the name of Saw," she wrote. "It is a classic scheme: acquaintance through the Internet, harassment, filming, blackmail, and extortion. Although there have been victims and people have been appealing to our Alliance for legal and psychiatric help, the story is being hushed up and victims and witnesses are being forced to sign nondisclosure orders [by the authorities]." Sometime in mid-March, Abramichevatold RFE/RL, her activists noticed online announcements touting "Saw: A Homophobic Game" and featuring an image of a character in the horror-film series Saw. The announcements declare the opening of the "Bashkir Season" on hunting LGBTs from March 3 until June 30. "More homophobia, more frame-ups, more violence," the announcement proclaims.
May 5 / Radio Free Europe