Skip to main content

Russian Investigative Committee chief says lawmakers need to rethink the decriminalization of domestic violence

Speaking at a board meeting for Russia's Federal Investigative Committee, agency chief Alexander Bastrykin criticized lawmakers’ decision in 2017 to decriminalize some forms of domestic violence. “This issue was removed, as I understand it, from criminal law?” said Russia’s top investigator. “Well now we’re reaping the violence.” Bastrykin called on lawmakers to “return to this issue,” arguing that “maniacs” who abuse children have “migrated to families — especially foster families.”

On February 3, Russia’s Federal Investigative Committee reported on frequent cases of violence against children in foster families.

In 2016, Russia decriminalized nonaggravated battery, but lawmakers made an exception for repeated battery and battery committed against close relatives. Several months later, however, Russia’s Criminal Code was amended again, this time to decriminalize repeated battery and domestic nonaggravated battery, as well. The State Duma argued that the reforms were necessary to allow parents to discipline their children, and to eliminate a legal quirk where the punishment for nonaggravated domestic violence became greater than nonaggravated battery outside the home.

Activists have lobbied the government to adopt new legislation designed to prevent domestic violence, but lawmakers have refused to consider it, so far.