Domestic violence in Russia

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In 2008 a representative of the Ministry of Internal Affairs Lt. Gen Mikhail Artamoshkin expressed his concerns over the country's crime rate, that had doubled in a mere five years between 2002 and 2006. He emphasized that also domestic violence had increased so that up to 40 percent of all serious violent crimes were committed within families. Every year about 14,000 women died in the hands of partners or other relatives, and 3,000 women killed their partners. In 90 percent of cases, a woman had first experienced systematic beating and violence.

About two-thirds of premeditated murders and grievous bodily harm was done in intimate relations or within families. The violence in one form or another was observed in almost every fourth family. The reasons for domestic crimes were different and included quarrels and scandals, hostile relations on the basis of families' problems, housing and domestic conflicts, which were often of long-lasting character.

As the main causes over the whole populae Artamoshkin referred "low morale" and income problems. While in wealthy families crimes happened also due to jealousy and avarice. High unemployment frustrated people and led to the abuse of alcohol and violence towards women and adolescents.

Artamoshkin pointed out that many preventing features in society vanished with the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991. He stated that the militia officers of districts had started in co-operation with child protection officials to work with families. And that, as a result of the preventive work the annual cases of domestic violence had decreased by 25-30 percent. [1]

In a 2003 press release, Amnesty International claimed that, each day, 36,000 women in the Russian Federation were beaten by their husbands or partners.[2]

The situation was exacerbated by the lack of statistical data on violent crimes, which took into account the nature of relationship between the offender and the victim as well as gender breakdown,[3] and by the attitude of law enforcement officers that did not regard such violence as a serious crime, but rather, as a "private matter" between the spouses[4][5] and avoid to "interfere with family scandals".[6]

A 2008 article published in Journal of Interpersonal Violence regarding domestic violence among Russian college students found that "High prevalence rates were found for all types of violence, aggression, and [sexual] coercion. Consistent with previous research, male and female students were about equally likely to be victims and perpetrators of all violent and aggressive actions."[7]


According to figures reported by the western media in 2013, women's deaths due to domestic violence had not been markedly diminished in a decade. BBC reported information from a Russian interior ministry that 600,000 women were physically or verbally abused at home and 14,000 of them died that year from injuries inflicted by their partner.[8] Reuters also reported that an estimated 10,000 to 14,000 women die at the hands of their partner or close relative every year.[9] This was still on par with the 14,000 reported in 2005 by[10]

The role of alcohol[edit]

A 1997 report published in the Journal of Family Violence, found that among male perpetrators of spousal homicide, 60–75% of offenders had been drinking prior to the incident.[11] A survey conducted by the Scientific Research Institute of the Family, 29% of people responding to the question “Why are children beaten in families with which you are acquainted?” reported that the violence was carried out by drunks and alcoholics.[11]

In a 2004 study of domestic violence in the Central Black Earth Region of Russia, 77% of offenders of violent crime (towards family members) were frequent drinkers - 12% engaged in regular binge drinking (three or four times a month), 30% three times a week or more, and 35% every day or almost every day.[11]

Police response[edit]

Yelena Makkey, the legal consultant of the Yekaterina Crisis Centre in the Urals, said that when facing victims of domestic violence police frequently don't understand that they should treat the cases as a violation of human rights.[neutrality is disputed] Often, they do not even register the complaints.[12][unreliable source?]

Lara Griffith, an AI advocate who is also affiliated with the campaign for human rights in the Russian Federation, explained: "Economic difficulties, experienced by a significant number of Russian families in the past decade, have put additional strain on family relations and have led to an upsurge in domestic violence in which women are most often the victims."[neutrality is disputed][12]

Men who beat or rape their wives or harass them in other ways are unlikely to face prosecution.[neutrality is disputed] Law enforcement officials and society in general tend to view domestic violence not as a crime, but as a private matter.[neutrality is disputed] Many women who have suffered such abuses do not seek redress because they fear further involvement with the authorities.[12]

Police statistics[edit]

Official statistics from the Russian Police Department (MVD) for 2008:[13]

  • Every fourth family in the country has experienced violence of different forms
  • Two-thirds of homicides are caused by family/household motives.
  • Up to 40% of all serious violent crimes are committed within families.

According to the data of 2015, more than 300 women per year die from the hands of husbands or other relatives.[14]

2017 law on domestic violence[edit]

In 2017, Vladimir Putin signed a law which decriminalizes a first offense of domestic violence which does not seriously injure the person, making that offense a less serious administrative offense in Russia.[15] It served as an addition to the law that was signed by the president in August 2016.

See also[edit]

External links[edit]


  • "Violence Against Women in the Russian Federation, Alternative Report to the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women, 46th session" (PDF). ANNA National Centre for the Prevention of Violence. 6 July 2010. p. 6.
  1. ^ "МВД: ежегодно около 14 тысяч женщин погибает от рук мужей". 24 January 2008. Retrieved 22 February 2017.
  2. ^ "Russian Federation: Violence against Women - time to act". Amnesty International UK. 5 March 2003.
  3. ^ ANNA National Centre 2010, p. 17.
  4. ^ "Concluding Observations: Russian Federation". Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women. 2002.
  5. ^ ANNA National Centre 2010, p. 4.
  6. ^ "Domestic Violence". Moscow Helsinki Group.
  7. ^ Lysova A.V., Douglas E.M. (2008). Intimate partner violence among male and female Russian university students. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 23(11), 1579-1599 DOI: 10.1177/0886260508314320
  8. ^ "The silent nightmare of domestic violence in Russia". 1 March 2013. Retrieved 5 February 2017.
  9. ^ Gabriela Baczynska (Aug 20, 2013). "Victims of domestic violence face uphill battle for protection in Russia". Reuters. Retrieved 20 February 2017.
  10. ^ Mariya Rasner (March 10, 2005). "Russian Women Struggle to Survive Domestic Violence". We-News. Retrieved 20 February 2017.
  11. ^ a b c "Interpersonal Violence and Alcohol in the Russian Federation" (PDF). World Health Organization. 2006. p. 4. Retrieved May 12, 2010.
  12. ^ a b c Violence Against Women in Russia
  13. ^ "Комитет ГД по охране здоровья". Retrieved 2017-03-14.
  14. ^ Родительское Всероссийское Сопротивление (2017-02-08), Жёны гибнут реже мужей. И намного реже, чем хотят говорить феминистки, retrieved 2017-03-14
  15. ^ Sebastian, Clare. "Putin signs law reducing punishment for domestic battery". Retrieved 2017-02-10.