and you get a Tartar, is a well-known proverb alluding to a Russian’s asiatic nature beneath a european countenance. Hinting of the fierce nature of Genghis Khan’s mongol hordes.
So it may come as no surprise that President Putin has decriminalised some forms of domestic abuse. That’s right, you can beat your wife with less chance of being imprisoned now.
According to official government figures between 12 and 14,000 women die each year of domestic abuse. A popular saying in Russia is “if he beats you it means he loves you“.
The revised law reduced the punishment for minor injuries, such as cuts and bruises, from two years to 15 days in prison if it doesn’t happen more than once a year.
It was instigated by Yelena Mizulina, an ultra-conservative MP who is head of the Russian State Duma’s Committee for Family, Women and Children. It was voted through by 38 votes to 1. She said that prosecuting people for a slap threatened to break up families and if parents weren’t allowed to beat their children “it would undermine traditional family values“. Sorry, but what committee is she head of?
A survey showed that 55% of Russians actually supported the change in the law (wonder what the gender split was?) and only 17% were against it.
The popular tabloid Komsomolskaya Pravda (Young Communist League Truth) ran an article that said women with violent husbands should “be proud of their bruises” because some biologists believe that they are then more likely to give birth to boys.( One way of continuing the vicious cycle as well).
Amnesty International describes it as ” a sickening attempt to further trivialise domestic violence“.
The mayor of Yekaterinberg, Russia’s fourth largest city, said they were now dealing with 350 cases of domestic assault very day compared to 150 a day previously. Before people were afraid of criminal charges – it acted as a safety barrier. “People got the impression that before it wasn’t allowed but now it is”.
So there you have it, an insight into the Russian character as personified by that low-achieving KGB officer (he only achieved lietenant-colonel rank), gay icon and macho man of the people who now sees himself as the Tsar of a new Russian Empire.