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Orthodox Church says family violence is a Russian tradition

Orthodox Church says family violence is a Russian tradition

The Russian Orthodox Church was incensed last summer when lawmakers – acting upon a recommendation by the Supreme Court – criminalised domestic violence.

And when something happens in Russia to infuriate the Church, steps immediately have to be taken to soothe it, so on Wednesday, according to this report, Russian lawmakers moved to decriminalise some forms of domestic violence for first-time offenders who do not inflict “serious” physical harm to their victims.

Yelena B Mizulina, above, one of the initiators of the new legislation and author of a law that banned “gay propaganda” aimed at minors, said in this report:

In Russian traditional family culture, parent-child relationships are built on the authority of the parents’ power … The laws should support that family tradition.

And the Russian Orthodox Church, which has steadily increased its influence in social policy in recent years, said in a statement that physical punishment was a Russian tradition and thus should be protected as:

An essential right given to parents by God. There is absolutely no doubt that children should be defended against true criminal activities. But you cannot equate such criminal assaults with rational and moderate use of physical punishment by loving parents.

Members of the State Duma passed the controversial amendment to the Russian criminal code in its second reading, which essentially assures it will go to President Vladimir V Putin for his signature.

The amendment treats a first conviction for domestic battery as an administrative offence, carrying a penalty of a $500 (£400)  fine or 15 days in jail. If Putin signs the measure into law, only injuries like concussions or broken bones, or repeated offences committed in a family setting, would lead to criminal charges.

Defenders of the measure say it will protect parents’ rights to discipline their children and generally reduce the state’s role in domestic life.

Opponents called it a step back to medieval times and a licence for violent behavior by domestic tyrants.

Said Svetlana G Aivazova, a Russian specialist in gender studies:

It is clear that lawmakers recognised violence as a norm of family life. This shows that Duma deputies are not simply conservative or traditional, it shows that they are archaic.

Aivazova and other experts say that Russia has a serious problem with domestic violence. Citing data provided by Russia’s Interior Ministry, Aivazova told Putin in 2015 that:

Forty percent of all grave violent crimes are committed in families.

In 2013, she said, more than 9,000 women died in criminal assaults and more than 11,000 were badly injured. In 2014, she said:

More than 25 percent of all murders were committed in families.

In the United States, by comparison, 11,766 women were killed by a husband or boyfriend in the years 2001 to 2012, an average of about 1,000 a year in a country with about twice the population of Russia.

Aivazova asked Putin to support a special law on the prevention of domestic violence that had already been passed in 143 countries, including Russia’s post-Soviet neighbors Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan.

In the past, Putin has expressed concern about domestic violence, even in the absence of serious injury. He told journalists at his last news conference in December:

I think we should not slap children and justify it based on some old traditions. There is a short distance from slaps to beating.

Vyacheslav Volodin, speaker of the State Duma, said the new legislation was a sign of the state’s determination:

To make conditions for strong families to emerge.

14 responses to “Orthodox Church says family violence is a Russian tradition”

  1. Mr. GrumpyPants says:

    Hitting helpless children out of anger and frustration has nothing to do with religion and everything to do with being violently stupid and criminally insane.
    Time to eradicate the Russian Orthodox Church as a criminal organization along with all the RCC and every single fucking religious organization on the planet.
    Long past time, actually. Long long past time.
    Oh wait did I not put my comment in the proper form for certain visitors? Fuck everybody who doesn’t like my being pissed off. Fuck off.

  2. Angela_K says:

    Religion and child abuse, so often found together. As does religion and misogyny, religion and racism, religion and homophobia…….continues to page 99.

  3. Stephen Mynett says:

    Hitting children has a lot to do with religion as most religions agree it is a correct thing to do, it does not help when the parent is violent anyway but religious indoctrination certainly plays a part in the problem.

  4. Broga says:

    Not too long ago some USA Christian wrote a book advising on how to beat children. Children being reared in accordance with some religious opinions are treated worse than most dogs. Hitting dogs is now known to be counter productive as there are far better methods of training.

    It is time the treatment of many Christian children caught up with the treatment of dogs.

  5. I am unable to understand the ban on ‘gay propaganda’ aimed at miners. In Wales, where I come from, the miners are always at it. What goes on in those Pits is nobody’s business! “Cwm geredigion blae ysllach henderi nos dda” as they say in the Valleys. No truer words were ever spoken.

  6. Gwnfor says:

    MFR … mynd ffwcio eich hun

  7. Newspaniard says:

    @Miss Floribunda Rose. I couldn’t agree with you more. HaHaHaHaha… Excellent comment!

  8. Broga says:

    @Miss F.R.: Diddorol! Ych’n siarad Cymreig?

  9. Laura Roberts says:

    @Broga: well put! Actually a number of similar books have been written, but I think the most infamous is the Pearls’ 1994 book, “To Train Up a Child”. The Pearls are the vermin who advocate using switches on infants. I suppose we should be glad they stop short of advocating cigarette burns as a disciplinary tool.

  10. Broga says:

    @Laura Roberts: From somewhere or other my wife acquired one of those books. It was truly appalling. For example, a child was manipulated into “doing wrong” so that the young child could be caned.

    This apparently was to “bring the child up in the fear of the Lord.” The advice was “don’t spare the rod.” It was sick. The suffering of so many children scarcely bears thinking about.

  11. Bubblecar says:

    The combination of primitive patriarchy, superstition, widepread alcoholism, organised crime and a corrupt dictator make Russia a violent place at the best of times, not just in the family home but pretty much everywhere.

    It’s a dangerous country and will become much more dangerous now that Trump is giving Putin the green light for further military expansionism in the west.

  12. barriejohn says:

    BTW Physical violence is not the only problem amongst the religious. I witnessed emotional and psychological abuse on a regular basis when with the Brethren. They especially enjoyed reducing their children and younger members of the sect to tears – publicly if possible – and it could be difficult to watch at times. I think this sort of behaviour is fairly common amongst such groups, but I’m not sure why.

  13. Daz says:

    @Broga

    “Not too long ago some USA Christian wrote a book advising on how to beat children.”

    Michael & Debi Pearl – To Train Up A Child [pdf]. A horrible book by horrible people, and it’s been implicated as an influence in at least three cases of child-murder to my knowledge.