Update (2/9): On Tuesday, Russian President Vladimir Putin signed this amendment into law. The main points of this law still stand: So long as broken bones or a hospital visit aren’t involved and it only happens once a year, domestic violence will now result in a maximum prison sentence of 15 days or a fine.
In yet another concerning turn of events for women’s rights, Russian lawmakers have almost unanimously passed the first reading of a law that would move domestic violence occurring inside the home from a criminal offense to an administrative one.
The proposed bill, which has been nicknamed the “slapping law” by many Russian media outlets, states any familial violence that does not result in injuries requiring hospital treatment or a necessary sick day at work will now be punished merely with a fine or community service after the first offense. If an incident occurs a second time, it could be considered criminal, but details as to what exactly that would mean are murky.
The idea for the bill is cloaked under the guise of protecting traditional ethics and methods of Russian parenting tactics (hence the proposed law’s nickname). Ultra-conservative lawmaker Yelena Mizulina told The Moscow Times, “In Russian traditional family culture parent-child relationships are built on the authority of the parents’ power. The laws should support that family tradition.”
Of the 370 senators in the Russian State Duma, 368 approved. It’s worth mentioning that 13 percent of those 370 lawmakers are women. It should also be noted that the bill was proposed, authored and publicly supported by two females: Mizulina (mentioned above) and Olga Batalina (pictured below). Both members of Russia’s State Duma, which is the lower house of the country’s Federal Assembly.
This move to decriminalize domestic violence is in line with changes Vladimir Putin has been making to gradually move Russia away from Western ideals and back toward a socially conservative agenda. Sound familiar? It should.
All of this is happening abroad, but America’s ties to, and ever-changing relationship with, Russia via Trump’s impending presidency is a topic that has been bombarding headlines for months. While the hacking scandal is still being investigated, it garners suspicion that Russia (and subsequently Putin) helped get Trump elected in the 2016 presidential election. At Trump’s first press conference a few days ago, he told reporters, “If Putin likes Donald Trump, I consider that an asset, not a liability.” In aligning himself with Putin, Trump’s aligning himself with the Russian leader’s values, whether he means to or not.
Since Trump’s win, there have already been multiple concerning changes put into place by American lawmakers. On Thursday, the US senate voted against covering women’s birth control as part of the repeal of the Affordable Care Act. It also voted against the current measure of the ACA that makes it illegal to turn away patients due to preexisting conditions (like, for example, pregnancy).
So speak up and fight on, ladies. Your rights might soon depend on it.
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(Photo via Mikhail Metzel/Getty)