Domestic Violence Is Not a Crime, Say Russian Lawmakers

Russia may be suffering from a domestic violence epidemic, but members of the Russian parliament clearly don’t see it as a problem. On Wednesday, Russia’s lower house voted to decriminalize domestic violence.

Instead of criminal charges, abusers would have to pay a fine and perhaps complete community service. So long as the victim of domestic abuse is not hospitalized or doesn’t have to take a leave of absence from work (which seems like a pretty high bar to clear,) the punishment for assault will be deemed “administrative.”

There is a caveat, though. This leniency will not apply to repeat offenders. Anyone found guilty of this abuse twice within a year’s span will then face criminal charges and jail time for his offenses.

Somehow, the parliamentary vote on this proposal was nearly unanimous. 368 legislators approved it, with just one dissenting vote and one abstention. Though the bill will need to pass in the other house to go into effect, however, given the almost unilateral support, it seems like a sure thing at this point.

If you’re unimpressed with this legislation, it probably won’t surprise you that Yelena Mizulina crafted it. Whether or not you recognize her name, you are probably familiar with her other handiwork: the infamous anti-gay propaganda law that infringed on the human rights of LGBT people in Russia.

Last summer, Care2’s Steve Williams warned that this legislation was in the works, though at that point it was unclear whether Mizulina’s colleagues would support it. While domestic violence laws have never formally existed, the Russian Supreme Court had recently declared that perpetrators of intrafamily violence could be charged as criminals.

The laws in Russia – which don’t even permit abuse victims to obtain restraining orders – are already lacking, so passing this new legislation would be pushing an already broken system back even further.

According to Mizulina, the law is less about women and more about children. Corporal punishment as a means of keeping children in line is popular in Russia, so passing this law ensures that parents can discipline their kids without facing criminal charges.

“In Russian traditional family culture parent-child relationships are build on the authority of the parents’ power,” said Mizulina. “The laws should support that family tradition.”

Whatever your feelings on the “tradition” of physical punishment against children, the fact that women are under the same umbrella of domestic abuse means that they’ll still suffer the ramifications of this law. Women are the victims in nearly three-fourths of Russia’s domestic violence incidents.

Although the Kremlin does not conduct nationwide studies on domestic abuse, smaller regional research points to about 600,000 women in Russia being the victims of abuse in their own home. Even more tellingly, nearly 40 Russian women die from attacks by their husbands each day. These high numbers are often attributed in part to the prevalence of alcoholism in the country.

Since domestic abuse, by definition, typically occurs in people’s homes, it can be difficult for officials to take action against this epidemic. That said, by diminishing the severity of punishment levied against abusers, Russia is only ensuring that its high rates of domestic violence will continue.

Please keep the women and children of Russia in your thoughts.

Photo credit: Thinkstock

121 comments

Jack Y
Jack Y9 months ago

thanks

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Jack Y
Jack Y9 months ago

thanks

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John J
John J9 months ago

thanks for sharing

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John J
John J9 months ago

thanks for sharing

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Marie W
Marie W1 years ago

Thank you for sharing.

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Lisa Hofmann
Lisa H2 years ago

Every act of violence is a crime.

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Rosslyn O
Rosslyn O2 years ago

Isn't it a shame that every single male forgets that he owes his very existence to a woman.

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Melania P
Melania Padilla2 years ago

Shame! I am not surprised.....

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Tin Ling L
Tin Ling L2 years ago

Thank you for sharing!

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Dot A
Dot A2 years ago

link is messed up = try to correct the garblegook with the instructed typing - however this may not work either --- --- ---
http.type the semicolon type 2 forward slashes.bostonreview.net-type a forward slash.forum/kate-manne-logic-misogyny

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