Domestic Abuse Decriminalised
The repeal of laws on domestic abuse means abusers have little to fear from the Russian police or the russian courts today
Mikhail Khachaturyan’s murder has come at a critical time for the Russian justice system. Controversially, the crime of battery at home was decriminalised just two years ago, and the Khachaturyan sisters’ trial has become a touchstone for both progressive and conservative opinion in Russia today.
Progressives say that the girls’ act was forced upon them after failures by the police, social services and the school system. Conservatives say the girls are premeditated killers and the full force of the law should be applied.
The sisters’ plight has solicited a lot of support on Russian social media, though debate was shut down by the host Vkontakte, under police and state pressure according to activists. Supporters of the Khachaturyan sisters say they have been attacked ( online) by men who believe that the sisters are guilty, whatever the circumstances in their home and their father’s actions towards them.
With domestic assault effectively decriminalised since 2017 things have become worse, with some politicians arguing that husbands should be allowed to hit their wives, and the Russian Orthodox Church condoned the use of corporal punishment in the home as ‘ God’s will’. The average fine for domestic abuse ( when it is even prosecuted) has fallen to 5,000 roubles (£ 58).
Images were released showing injuries to the sisters, allegedly inflicted on them by their abusive father