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Russian senator says special criminal punishment for domestic violence is ‘anti-family’

Elena Mizulina, the deputy head of the Russian Senate's committee on constitutional legislation, has declared that new amendments approved by the State Duma to the country's criminal code, providing criminal punishment for beating one's own relatives, amount to “discrimination against family members,” and contradicts the Constitution. Mizulina says the legislation is “anti-family.”

In Mizulina's opinion, the new legal language will encourage criminal cases against “parents who use light ‘disciplinary measures’ like spanking, or quarrelling spouses.” “All this will legalize juvenile justice, by which I mean the unwarranted intrusion [of the state] into family affairs,” Mizulina says.

The senator also points out that the new criminal-code article on “beatings” transfers to the charge to private-public cases, which aren't resolved automatically once the different sides have reconciled. 

Mizulina is calling on other members of the Federation Council to reject the legislation, which she calls “an example of how the State Duma can distort the content of a law during its consideration process.”

The senator has noted that parent groups actively oppose such amendments, and that social activists have already staged a series of pickets throughout the country. And on Wednesday, June 29, they're planning to send the president a list of signatures by people who oppose the enacting of such provisions in the legislation.

Elena Mizulina's official website

On June 21, the State Duma approved legislation proposing administrative, but not criminal, penalties for first-time offenders convicted of beatings that don't pose a serious health threat. At the same time, beatings targeting “close persons,” as well as attacks based on hatred and hooliganism, will be criminal offenses. 

In May 2015, Elena Mizulina (then a deputy in the State Duma and head of the committee on family, women, and children) opposed the introduction of separate punishments for domestic violence, calling the idea “overblown” and claiming that “all the necessary statutes for protecting victims are already present in our laws.”

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