Co-author of Russian domestic violence bill asks interior minister to investigate Orthodox group for threats
State Duma Deputy Oksana Pushkina has submitted a complaint to Vladimir Kolokoltsev, Russia’s interior affairs minister, asking the country’s national police agency to investigate threats Pushkina and others have received in their push to recriminalize domestic violence. Konstantin Dobrynin, Pushkina’s attorney, told the wire service Interfax about the legislator’s complaint.
Pushkina is explicitly asking the Interior Affairs Ministry to investigate the Sorok Sorokov (Forty Times Forty) movement, an Orthodox Christian organization that says it defends “traditional spiritual and moral values.” The deputy’s complaint asks police to determine whether Sorok Sorokov’s actions against the bill to make domestic violence a criminal offense qualify as threats against Pushkina and her co-sponsors.
Dobrynin noted that Sorok Sorokov has been involved in a number of online writings about the bill, including an open letter “against the passage of a law to prevent everyday family (domestic) violence.” According to RBC, Pushkina’s complaint argues that the letter includes “statements that justify family violence under the guise of ‘preserving’ quasi-family values and, in essence, produce actions directed toward the incitement of hatred or enmity.”
In 2017, the Russian government decriminalized first-offense domestic violence (defined as the beating of a relative), supposedly to correct what was seen as discrepancy between punishment for violence in the home and beatings on the street (as the latter were considered a misdemeanor). Since even before this legislation, women’s rights activists have lobbied for a formal concept of felony domestic abuse in Russian law. This October, State Duma deputies started discussing a new draft of these reforms, and supporters say they hope to submit the legislation officially before the end of the year.