Don’t Legalize Domestic Violence in Russia

Target: Vyacheslav Volodin, Chairman of Russia’s State Duma

Goal: Reverse approval of bill that decriminalizes domestic violence.

The first conviction of domestic violence in Russia has been changed from a criminal offense to an administrative one, meaning that it will be taken far less seriously in the eyes of the law. The bill was recently signed by President Vladimir Putin and decriminalizes some forms of domestic battery. It states that first-time offenders who do not pose serious harm to victims could carry a penalty of up to $500 fine, a 15-day jail period, or mandatory community service.

Official statistics in Russia indicate that 40 percent of all violent crimes in Russia are committed within the family, but independent research argues that the number is even higher. Some studies referred by Human Rights Watch found that in more than 80 percent of crimes against women in Russia, the perpetrator is the victim’s spouse or intimate partner. Violence against women is very pervasive in Russian society, and across the whole country, women have reported experiencing different types of violence — physical, sexual, economic, or psychological. Children are also victims of abusive households, with studies showing that 26,000 of kids and teenagers face violence every day.

Russian lawmakers and the Russian Orthodox Church have highlighted the importance of tradition to justify less intervention of state laws into families and private lives. However, by qualifying beatings resulting in bruises and bleeding as acceptable, Russia sends the wrong message to its people and the whole world. The correct way to adequately protect victims of domestic violence is not to change the status of the offenses. Rather, Russia should reinforce its participation in two international conventions of which the country is already a member: the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) and the Convention on the Rights of the Child. High legitimization of those spaces by Russia government will promote a culture of respect and equality that is much needed. Sign the petition below to demand that Russia scrap this horrid law.


Dear Mr. Volodin,

President Vladimir Putin signed the controversial amendment to the Russian criminal code that decriminalizes some forms of domestic battery for first-time offenders who allegedly do not do serious physical harm to their victims. According to the amendment, the first conviction for domestic battery should be registered as an administrative offense, carrying a penalty of a $500 fine, 15 days in jail, or mandatory community service.

Violence against women and physical punishment in children’s education are embedded in Russia’s culture, and tradition has been a strong argument for the maintenance of status quo. However, this has led to ineffective prevention of domestic violence, insufficient support, and lack of justice to victims.

I am urging you to cancelthis amendment, first introduced by members of the State Duma, and consider other alternatives to deal with domestic battery. Stronger participation of your country in international spaces such the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) and the Convention on the Rights of the Child is likely to lead to efficient protection of victims and the promotion of changes in the country’s culture.


[Your Name Here]

Photo credit: Anastasia Rudenko

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  1. This horrible bill that decriminalizes domestic violence is tyrannical and oppressive and should be scrapped immediately. This law sells the LIE to people that domestic violence is ok and no big deal. It sentences wives of abusers to a life of hopelessness. It sentences the children of abusers to a lifetime of either being abused or becoming an abuser. I cannot express how horrified I am at what decriminalizing domestic abuse will do to the Russian people.

  2. NO! There is no way this horrific idea must be allowed to come to fruition! I know Russia is backward and does not appear to have any ambition to enter the 21st century. Violence solves nothing, and to apply it to those who cannot fight back is nothing short of bullying by cowards. You are not men, you are brutal sub humans.

  3. Wendy Morrison says:

    Domestic abuse is a CRIMINAL OFFENSE!!!

  4. Doesn’t surprise me, women are treated as second class citizens in Russia.

  5. What else would you expect from this vile and evil President Vladimir Putin who decriminalizes some forms of domestic battery.
    He is a mate of Trump so heaven help the Americans.

  6. Richard Hofman Richard Hofman says:

    Ha,ha,ha let them be alone they are just a Slav Russians with no respect to humanity and human rights at all for ages…
    There is not help for them they are lost forever…

  7. Who do you think brought every single person into the world, women, who puts food on your table, women, who brings up your children, women, does your filthy washing, women, and you have the nerve, ordacity the cheek to treat her like a piece of shit. Hah. Surely you have moved forward from the barbaric erra. 2017 mate

  8. Gen Lovyet Agustsson says:

    reillegalize violence for all!

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