Russian Parliament Passes Law Decriminalizing Domestic Violence Through First Round of Votes


Ultra-conservative Russian lawmaker Yelena Mizulina is a senator in the Federation Council, Russia’s upper chamber of parliament. She successfully campaigned for anti-LGBTQ legislature against “gay propaganda” which has made homosexual relationships and people subject to fines and punishment, and has been connected to a rise in anti-gay violence in Russia. She is now working to make domestic violence more acceptable.

The Guardian reported in August that Mizulina had introduced a new bill to the State Duma, which would decriminalize violence within families, subjecting perpetrators to fines rather than jail time. She stated at the time, “Battery carried out toward family members should be an administrative offense,” adding, “You don’t want people to be imprisoned for two years and labelled a criminal for the rest of their lives for a slap.”

In June, Vladimir Putin signed a law that decriminalized forms of assault and battery that did not cause “actual bodily harm,” but “beatings targeting ‘close persons,’ as well as attacks based on hatred and hooliganism,” remained subject to jail time. Mizulina decided that wasn’t good enough.

Russian government statistics, however, suggest that about 40% of all violent crimes take place within the family, accounting for assaults against 36,000 women and 26,000 children. Russia has been criticized by the UN for their failure to promote women’s rights, and has pressured them to adopt legislation defending women, and to establish shelters and other resources for victims of domestic violence.

The Moscow Times reports that Mizulina’s bill was voted on this week and passed the first reading, in a vote of 368 to 1. One other deputy reportedly abstained. During her opening speech on the bill Wednesday, Mizulina said, “In Russian traditional family culture parent-child relationships are built on the authority of the parents’ power,” adding, “The laws should support that family tradition.”

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