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Russian feminists run for Duma in an effort to end domestic violence

Alyona Popova's campaign rhetoric seems blunt: There won't be much hope of a law against domestic violence within Russia unless she is elected to Parliament.

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Russian feminists run for Duma in an effort to end domestic violence

Popova is a passionate feminist and has been fighting for years to get legislation passed by the State Duma to protect women. Popova decided to run in the election, in which voting starts Friday and continues through Sunday.

Popova believes that she has a chance to win and that she will be able push through domestic violence legislation. However, both sides face a difficult task according to recent Russian actions and analysts.

Although there are not many reliable statistics on Russia's violence against women, it is clear that it is a problem. Domestic abuse is routinely ignored by the police, and there are no restraining orders, which leaves victims without any protection.

Russia's Police magazine, the official publication of the Interior Ministry, reported that in 2019, one third of murders took place within "family and household relations." Violence of all kinds occurs in one out four families. 70% of crimes committed within households and families are against women or children.

Domestic abuse protection is virtually nonexistent. Although laws cover a broad range of violent crimes and have been rejected by authorities, attempts to make preventive measures have met resistance.

Yulia Gorbunova is a senior researcher at Human Rights Watch in Russia, Ukraine and said that the statistics show Russia is not much different than the rest of the globe. According to World Health Organization data, one third of women worldwide suffer from sexualized or physical violence by their partner or others. "And in Russia, these numbers are quite similar."

She added that Russia is a country that differs from others in a negative way. Russia lacks a system of support for victims and legislation.

Popova decided to run after Oksana Pushkina, her only ally in Duma, announced that she was not seeking reelection.

Popova said she spoke with other advocates about what to do: "To run after Duma lawmakers for five more years, given that this next parliament will be ultra-bigoted, ultra-fundamentalist?" Popova said. Popova said, "Or to fight it ourselves?"

A simple assault on a family member was only briefly a crime in 2016, but the legislation provoked a backlash from conservative organizations.

At his annual news conference, December 2016, President Vladimir Putin was questioned about parents who could be imprisoned for spanking their child. The questioner stated that this was a traditional Russian discipline.

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