Russian Orthodox Church

The Russian Church: Profiting by Silence

by Sergei Chapnin

Russia protest

Last Sunday Russia saw a wave of protests against corruption in the upper echelons of power. Masses took to the streets ignited by the investigation of the Anti-Corruption Foundation titled “He is Not Dimon for You,” which focused on the alleged corrupt affairs of Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev. The outcome of these events surprised everybody, including the government, the organisers of the protests, and society at large.

Firstly and most importantly, Alexei Navalny, the author of the investigation who had previously announced his bid to seek the presidency in 2018, managed to lead tens of thousands of people out to the streets all over Russia, from Vladivostok to Voronezh. Nobody, the organisers included, expected the protests to achieve such scale. In many cities, the rallies remained unauthorized and led to people being arrested despite the peaceful nature of these demonstrations.  Continue Reading…

Is the Russian Orthodox Church Pushing Battered Women into Feminism?

by Lena Zezulin

battered-wife

As expected, President Putin signed the law decriminalizing family violence, shifting certain offenses from criminal to administrative proceedings. Ostensibly this was done to bring the law into compliance with changes to the criminal code that had redefined assaults that do not result in “substantial bodily harm” from criminal to administrative violations. The change was decried by human rights activists in Russia and foreign observers as a step in the wrong direction. In addition, the position of the Russian Orthodox Church in support of the measure, and the Church’s opposition to the very notion of “family violence” as an import of Western “gender ideology,” received widespread criticism. Now that the law has been changed, where are we? Continue Reading…

“Beat her when you are alone together”: Domestic Violence in the Russian Tradition, Past and Present

by Nadieszda Kizenko

wifebeating2

On February 7, Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a law decriminalizing domestic violence. Now, the first instance of poboi—“actions which cause physical pain but do not lead to grave injury or loss of ability to work’’—will be treated as a misdemeanor rather than a criminal act. This means that the offender will incur a fine of 30,000 rubles (about $500), community service, or a fifteen-day detention. If the offender repeats the offense within a year, the second offense will be treated as a criminal act. If more than a year goes by, the slate is clean, and the repeat offense is once again a misdemeanor with no jail time.

This measure prompted a furious response, both in Russian social media and abroad, when it was first raised in the lower courts last June. It seemed as if the most vulnerable members of society were left without protection, and as if the state considered bloodying one’s wife and children somehow not serious. But the picture is more complicated than it seems. Continue Reading…