It Is Now Legal To Beat Your Spouse, Child, Or Elderly Parent … In Russia

Yesterday, Russian President Vladimir Putin signed into law a controversial amendment that decriminalizes domestic violence. The amendment would decriminalize any violence that does not cause serious medical harm, which is defined as requiring hospital treatment. Beatings that leave bruises, scratches or bleeding but do not leave lasting negative health effects such as broken bones or concussion will no longer be criminal.

There is, understandably, fury among women’s activist groups in Russia.  Filosofa is spluttering with rage!  It should be duly noted that the bill was drafted by two women:  Yelena Mizulina, an ultra-conservative MP who was also behind the controversial Russian law banning “gay propaganda”, and Olga Batalina.

russiaDomestic violence is widely acknowledged to be a major problem in Russia, with more than 10,000 women believed to die from injuries inflicted by husbands or partners every year. So what, we might ask, is the justification for a law that makes it legal to beat your spouse, partner, child, or even elderly parent?  Read on …

  • The law is about protecting Russian traditions according to which the family is sacred. Priest Dmitry Smirnov, head of the Russian Orthodox Patriarchy’s commission on family matters, said on a television program that the idea the state should be able to poke its nose into family affairs was a western imposition on Russia.
  • An article last week in the science section of the popular tabloid Komsomolskaya Pravda cheerfully told readers about an “advantage” of wife-beating. It said: “Recent scientific studies show the wives of angry men have a reason to be proud of their bruises. Biologists say that beaten-up women have a valuable advantage: they more often give birth to boys!”
  • It supports “traditional values” and stops the state from snooping into family matters.
  • According to Putin himself, “unceremonious interference with the family is impermissible”.
  • “If he beats you, it means he loves you.”

So there you have it … all good reasons to tolerate violence and abuse as the norm, right? A recent poll showed that 59% or those polled would prefer a ‘softer’ version of the law, and only 17% were completely against the law. Personally, I am glad I don’t live in Russia, and am also glad that nobody has ever loved me so much they felt a need to beat me.

Apparently law enforcement in Russia have not historically taken domestic abuse claims very seriously in the past anyway.  Anna Kirey, deputy director for Russia and Eurasia at Amnesty International, said: “This bill is a sickening attempt to trivialize domestic violence, which has long been viewed as a non-issue by the Russian government.”

Take, for example, the story last year of Anna Zhavnerovich.    After her boyfriend beat her unconscious, Anna went to the police to file a report and have him arrested.  Rather than empathy …

“They asked me why I didn’t have any children,” she remembers. “They asked me if I was married.” Beneath their line of questioning was the suggestion that somehow the attack was her fault. They told her that they would investigate, but a few weeks later she received a letter informing her that the case had been dropped. Her ex-boyfriend had not been questioned and no further action was proposed. When she tried to hire a lawyer to start a private suit, she was told that the police had lost her files.

In the past, the penalty for domestic violence charges, if pursued by police, could have been as much as two years in prison and a fine.  Now, the penalty is likely to be a fine of up to 30,000 rubles, or about $500 USD. And, if convicted of abuse a second time within a year, the abuser may … or may not … face a jail sentence.  Initially there was a proposal to exclude abuse of pregnant women, but that was thrown out, so it is also legal to beat your pregnant wife in Russia.

I understand cultural differences, but this, folks, is NOT a cultural difference.  Granted, Russian culture is more patriarchal than that of the western world, but nonethess, this is state-sanctioned cruelty.  State-sanctioned inhumanity.  No human being deserves to be beaten.  Period.  Congratulations, Mr. Putin … you just added yet another black mark to your record for cruelty and violations of human rights.  The next woman, child or elderly person who dies at the hand of a domestic abuser is on your conscience.

30 thoughts on “It Is Now Legal To Beat Your Spouse, Child, Or Elderly Parent … In Russia

  1. Hello Jill thank you for your post, This is sooo true I don’t understand the cultural differences and making it ok for domestic violence is not ok. This world that we live in today is semi-despicable. Trump is close to this type of order as well. This world is a scary place and domestic violence is not ok

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I know the secret behind this. There is so much domestic violence in households they’d have to jail thousands of men ever year if not month. The cause is alcoholism. The average life expectancy of a Russian male is 60 due to alcoholism and related sickness.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Intrigued by your comment, I went in search of info, and sure enough, found that an excess of Vodka is responsible for the shortened life span in Russia. Likely it does contrubute, also, to the domestic violence, but I suspect that the culture of male domination has more to do with that. Even a majority of the women see it as being okay. Sigh. Thanks for reading and commenting … always appreciated!


  3. How on Earth can any Country take such a retrograde step where violence i concerned. This is a Country that claims to be civilised proving it isn’t. Not a course of action I hope the sycophantic Mr Trump will follow I hope.
    Perhaps all the women’s groups over there will be able to get this abominable law changed.
    xxx Huge Hugs xxx

    Liked by 1 person

    • Your guess is as good as mine, my friend. I imagine Trump would if he could, but I suspect that is one move that even he couldn’t get by with. But then again …

      I’ve been missing your comments lately! Missing your hugs! 🙂 Cwtch mawr!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Jill, I am with eschudel, it is hard to like this. This is criminal action on the part of Putin, plain and simple. It is not permissible to beat someone and for those who say it is not a crime is reprehensible. It reminds me of a woman I worked with whose husband beat her. She went to her minister who chastised her in front of the assailant husband that she needed to be a better wife. That is also criminal behavior by the minister in my book. Fortunately for her she left her husband and that church. With respect of Putin, this is par for the course. Keith

    Liked by 2 people

    • On first reading your comment about the woman you worked with and her minister telling her to be a better wife, I was in shock … but then I remembered hearing the same line of thinking from some of my in-laws many, many years back, who claimed that the Bible said a women should be submissive. I’m with you … I think the minister was at the very least aiding and abetting a criminal! I have no patience for anybody … man, woman, or otherwise … abusing another human!


  5. This is an excellent example of what I have been blogging about and writing about for years: cultural relativism is absurd. The notion that “whatever they do is OK because we haven’t walked in their shoes” is nonsense. There are certain things, such as violence against others (generally) that are simply wrong. They violate the fundamental ethical principal of “respect for persons,” which transcends cultures and applies to one and all. Thanks for letting me vent!!

    Liked by 4 people

    • Yes, I agree. When I first read about this, I thought of you and a previous discussion we had about a similar topic. This law violates human rights. And you, my friend, are welcome to vent anytime!


    • Yes, it is … and the fact that even most women in Russia think it is okay is just beyond me! And yes, I agree … there are some in this country who would probably see it as a great idea. Perhaps even one in a leadership position … not to mention any names. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I almost chocked on the bit saying “beaten up women more often give birth to boys”! Hello??? “Being proud of your bruises”…. ARE THEY KIDDING ME??? … Sorry, did not mean to shout. But it was this or start to chew my keyboard again. – I can only hope the women in Russia know how to use a frying pan … (very-grim-smiley)

    Liked by 2 people

      • Yes, I saw those photos and noted that I have never seen him hold her hand, or share a private moment with her. She always looks rather like a deer in the headlights. Yep, DT probably called Putin to congratulate him for signing the law. Hugs!

        Liked by 1 person

    • Go ahead and shout! You should have heard me when I first saw the article last night in the Guardian … I was spluttering, and made my family listen to me read the whole article to them, with a few of my own choice words thrown in for emphasis! Unbelieveable in this, the 21st century!


  7. It was very hard to click “Like” for this, as I’ve noted at other times, but you know what I mean. I am assuming that if a woman were to beat her husband, that will be equally ok with Putin and his cronies. It would be interesting to see this tested…although I would never condone domestic violence, whoever perpetrates it. I am sure Drumpf won’t be tweeting about this.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Pingback: Daar leer ek ook iets | Die Wit Hasie

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