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Russian taxi service reforms free ride program for domestic violence victims after non-victimized men take advantage

The taxi hailing service Citymobil was lauded among Russian activists for offering free rides in Moscow to the Nasiliu.net (No to Violence) women’s center. However, a Citymobil representative has now announced that the promotion code for the free taxis will only be made available to those who call Nasiliu.net asking for help escaping domestic violence.

Georgy Lobushkin, the taxi service’s PR director, wrote on Twitter that “For some reason, most of the [promotion code’s] activations were coming from men who never ended up asking for help.” He added that the company would continue offering free rides to Nasiliu.net nonetheless because the promotion had “resonated well among real victims of violence.”

The Citymobil glitch comes amid legislative debates about a bill to recriminalize domestic violence in Russia. While the bill appeared to be making headway this fall, activists have called the draft version released on November 29 “largely useless.”