A bill aimed at decriminalising domestic violence to preserve the “tradition of parental authority” has easily passed through the first stage of approval in the Russian parliament.
Ultra-conservative MP Yelena Mizulina, who chairs a committee on family and women’s affairs, proposed the bill to have “battery within families” taken out of Russia’s criminal code, removing the right of victims to press charges.
“In Russian traditional family culture parent-child relationships are built on the authority of the parents’ power,” she told a meeting of parliament in Moscow. “The laws should support that family tradition.”
The proposed law was approved by 368 MPs, with only one coming out in opposition.
In July last year, Vladimir Putin oversaw an amendment to the law which declared family violence a criminal offence for the first time in Russia. Ms Mizulina and her supporters have been protesting the ruling ever since.
“Battery carried out towards family members should be an administrative offence,” Ms Mizulina continued. “You don’t want people to be imprisoned for two years and labelled a criminal for the rest of their lives for a slap.”
The decision was strongly opposed by women’s rights activists who believe the new legislation will make victims of domestic violence even more vulnerable, according to The Moscow Times.
“These lawmakers believe that fines for domestic tyrants is better than criminal liability,” activist Alyona Popova said.