Putin claims it helps protect family values.
Vladimir Putin just made domestic violence a lot harder to report, and a lot easier to get away with.
As long as government has existed, so has the debate as to how much reach and influence it should have in a citizen’s day-to-day life. In our own country, the divide between our two major Parties ultimately comes down to this belief: That the government should either let the people be or become more involved to better support them. Where do you stand?
One especially grey area is what happens inside a private home. And while the well-being of all citizens should be paramount to a government—and although all laws still apply to private residences—there’s only so much that can be done regarding what goes on behind these four walls.
In Russia, one of the largest and most populated countries on the globe, President Vladimir Putin signed a bill into law this week that decriminalizes some degrees of domestic violence, making it easier for this subtle and insidious form of abuse to take place without much repercussion.
Domestic Violence in Russia
In 2005, Amnesty International carried out a study on domestic violence in Russia that had harrowing results.
“Every hour a woman in the Russian Federation dies at the hand of a relative, her partner or former partner. Violence against women in the family occurs in all 89 regions of the Russian Federation.” Most importantly, the report reminded us that domestic abuse “is not a private matter but affects society as a whole. Amnesty International is concerned that throughout the Russian Federation, too little is done to prevent violence in the family, to protect those who have become victims and to bring to account perpetrators of violence in the family.”
Sadly, this week, Amnesty International reported that “In the more than a decade since Amnesty International’s last report on rampant domestic violence in Russia, the authorities have failed to implement a single measure to enhance protection and services for the victims.
“Russia is far behind global developments to protect victims of domestic violence, having very scarce measures in place such as government-funded shelters, effective practices of protection orders or police officers trained in how to respond to reports about abuse and protect victims.”
And their alarm isn’t without due cause.
Things Are Getting Worse
This week, President Putin signed a bill into law that partially decriminalizes domestic abuse, in spite of major protests from women’s and children’s rights advocates.
Of course, terrible as it sounds, the maneuver all comes down to legal wording and specifics, as do so many debates in law. But we don’t like the minuscule differentiations one bit.
The law reclassified the definition of domestic violence among family members, decriminalizing certain forms of abuse such as “violence that doesn’t cause significant injury” as well as “small abrasions, bruises, superficial wounds, and soft-tissue damage,” or other beatings that only result in so-called “minor harm.”
Why would reducing the penalties for such violence ever be in the best interest of the government or its citizens? Keep reading to hear why the bill was almost unanimously passed through the Russian Duma.