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

Beating one’s wife the Christian way, as Putin suggests? Lord, have mercy.
It is good to hear an Orthodox voice protesting this kind of madness. Although, to be fair, I wished a man would put things right. After all, in most cases, men are the perpetrators of this barbarian behaviour.

Public Orthodoxy

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…

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