Russia Diminishes Penalties for Domestic Violence

January 30, 2017 in General

It seems that Russia doesn’t like women any more than it does LGBT individuals. According to the Sydney Morning Herald, the Russian Duma has voted 380-3 to decriminalise domestic violence in cases where it does “not cause” “substantial bodily harm” and “does not occur” “more” than once a year. Worse still, the new legislation actually eliminates male criminal liability in such cases, and makes a violation punishable by a fine of roughly $AU500, or a 15-day arrest, although there can be no repeat within a twelve month interval.

This sick and disgusting trivialisation of violence against women will now go to the Duma’s largely cosmetic upper chamber, where no opposition is expected. The bill then must be signed into law by President Vladimir Putin, who has signalled his support for this nauseating step. Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov told journalists that family conflicts do “not necessarily constitute domestic violence.” One wonders if Petrov has actually witnessed domestic violence, worked with coalface professionals or battered women’s shelters to make this abhorrent and reprehensible claim. One suspects not.

This monstrous bill reverses a ruling by the Russian Supreme Court in 2016, subsequently backed by the Duma, that decriminalised battery that does not inflict bodily harm, but retained criminal charges involving battery against family members. That reform has now been effectively reversed by this legislation.

Andrei Isayev of Vladimir Putin’s United Russia Party, said lawmakers are “heeding the public call” by correcting a “mistake” they made last year. Russia is one of three countries in Europe and Central Asia that do not have laws specifically targeting domestic violence. Communist lawmaker Yuri Sinelshchikov and Women’s rights lawyer Mari Davtyan slammed the move, arguing that it would encourage and reinforce brutal misogyny and women’s suffering and death from domestic violence. Russian government statistics from the Interior Ministry state that 40 per cent of all violent crimes are committed within the family. The figures correlate to 36,000 women being beaten by their partners every day and 26,000 children being assaulted by their parents every year. Religious social conservative fanatics opposed the earlier decision because it delegitimised child battery- far right Russian lawmaker Yelena Mizulina, who called it “anti-family” and said it undermined the “right” of parents to beat their children. Mizulina is an MD from the misnamed “A Just Russia” party and is also responsible for sex education and Internet censorship bills and is rabidly opposed to LGBT rights. She has been praised by the US Christian Right’s World Congress of Families, which also has connections to Family First New Zealand. She is anti-abortion, favouring it as an option only in cases of rape and threat to a woman’s continued life or health, and not within private abortion providers, as well as supporting anti-abortion propaganda being forced on women under the guise of “informed consent.” She also favours a divorce tax, encouraging large families, penalising women who give birth outside marriage, condemning homosexuality, South Park and surrogate motherhood. Mizulina’s view was echoed at the time by another fringe pro-abuse organisation, the All-Russian Parents’ Resistance movement, which warned on its website that “parents no longer have the right to choose methods of upbringing.” Russian police are also reluctant to meet their professional responsibilities when it comes to domestic violence cases, which many regard as “meddling” in family affairs. In one documented case, this led to at least one woman’s death from such abhorrent professional negligence.

Unbelievably, the Russian Orthodox Church “[...] says that the Russian traditional family doesn’t have problems with domestic violence so we do not need an article in the criminal code,” said feminist lawyer Mari Davtyan. The amendments passed through second and third reading unusually quickly this week. An MP for President Vladimir Putin’s United Russia party told The Associated Press, “This is an historic vote because in certain countries the state’s role in family life is way too much.” Russian Christian Right pressure groups resist the state “meddling too much” in family affairs and raising “unwarranted suspicions” (sic) about spousal abuse or violent parenting. Maria Mamikonyan of the All-Russian Parents Resistance Movement stated that feminists have been “inflating” the incidence of family abuse and trying to “confuse” the public when there are “already” criminal laws that deal with assault: “In our criminal code we have other statutes that regulate, that will punish for beating — for real beatings.” If Putin does sign the measure into law, only injuries such as concussions or broken bones, or repeated offences committed in a family setting, would lead to criminal charges.

Recommended:

“Russia votes to decriminalise domestic violence” Newshub: 29.01.2017: https://www.newshub.co.nz/home/world/2017/01/russia-votes-to-decriminalise-domestic-violence.html

Susan Ormiston: “Domestic violence penalties rolled back in Russia”: CBC News: 27.01.2017: http://www.cbc.ca/news/world/russia-domestic-abuse-civil-offence-1.3955317

Wikipedia/Yelena Mizulina: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yelena_Mizulina

“Russia decriminalises some forms of family violence” Irish Times: 28.01.2017: http://www.irishtimes.com/news/world/europe/russia-decriminalises-some-forms-of-domestic-violence-1.2955336

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