On Friday the lower house of Russian Duma accepted the third and final edition of the law to decriminalize domestic violence. 380 deputies approved the innovations and 3 voted against proposed amendments. Now the senate must approve the new legislation, and then the President should sign the bill. This is expected to happen within days.
Lighter penalties for battery at home
- The previous version of the article of the Criminal Code on battery could see offenders spending up to 2 years behind bars.
- The new edition will see lighter penalties: a fine up to USD $500 or 15-day detention.
However, under the new law the victim has to first evidence that battery indeed took place: Present results of medical expertise of bruises, scratches, etc. The law is only applicable to “battery”, which is a physical assault that didn’t cause harm to the health of the person. Only when the sufficient evidence is presented, there could be a punishment. Being now not a “criminal” but “private” matter, the burden of proof is on the victim, not the state. If authorities see the evidence as sufficient and compliant with the rules, the administrative process will take place and allocate an appropriate penalty.
Children, too, are expected to fend for themselves within the system. How it is going to happen, no one knows.
If the offender who was found guilty of battery beats up his victim again within 1 year, then the matter is moved to criminal courts. However, if 1 year and 1 day passed, it would be seen as “the first offence” again and the police wouldn’t want to know about it.
The number of times abuse occurred prior to the first application is also irrelevant. To gain access to the criminal system, there has to be a punishment for battery first through the administrative scheme. Multiple unreported cases could only score 1 application through the “private” system.
The proponents of the law state it is aimed at “restoring traditional family values” and keeping marital affairs private.
We reported on details of the new Russian legislation about abuse at home previously.
How Russians reacted
In the typical fashion, Russians answered with jokes and memes in social networks. Lenta.ru picked some of the most amusing comments.
Minister of Laziness: Now during the marriage registration they will say, “you may hit the bride” instead of “you may kiss the bride”.
Happiness, Health: At last they allowed to beat the wife. I know what I am doing this weekend.
— Have any plans for the evening?
— To beat the wife, parents, and kids.
— Lucky you, I have no one to beat.
— Come to my place, at least have a look.
John McClane: Russia is a miraculous place. It’s not allowed to beat a woman, but if you are married to her, then it’s OK.
Ivan Semyonov: If you want to beat her up, marry her.
Captain Nemo: The wife was screaming, “The law has not been ratified yet!” But nothing could stop the husband…
Oleg Panfilov: West legalizes marijuana, Russia legalizes domestic battery. Everyone has their own drug.
MedvedevDream: Beat your wife, save Russia.
UkraineGuy: They allowed beating wives in Russia! Honey, would you like to take a trip to Moscow for the weekend?
TL: Congratulations! You are now husband and wife, you can hit each other.