Margarita took her lawyers' advice, and Dmitri ended up with a year sentence. Although she is maimed for life, Margarita could easily have suffered a worse fate. The most conservative estimates suggest that domestic violence kills hundreds of women a year. This longstanding domestic violence "crisis", as campaigners call ameerican, helps explain why two developments have sparked protests in cities across Russia.
One was the decision taken in to downgrade domestic violence from a criminal offence to a misdemeanour for first-time offenders, as long as the victim doesn't need hospital treatment. The russizn was the prospect of long prison sentences being handed down to three sisters arrested for killing their abusive father in July The father, Mikhail Khachaturyan - a businessman who made a name for himself running protection rackets in the s - drove his wife from the family home at gunpoint inthen began to focus his aggression on the girls.
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He had a bell and each of them had to come and submit to whatever he desired. The kids were really suffering. Then year-old Maria stabbed him with a hunting knife while year-old Angelina hit him on the head with a hammer. A public outcry led to them aemrican released from custody while awaiting trial.
adn A petition calling for them to be acquitted has gatheredatures. When she headlined a fundraiser last summer she spoke about domestic and sexual abuse as "one of the most important problems in Russia" but one that is "always pushed under the ameircan. She added that 80 of the women prisoners she had met during her 18 months in a prison colony for performing a "punk prayer" in Moscow's main cathedral were women who had been subjected to domestic abuse "until they just couldn't take it any more".
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Few Russian politicians see tackling domestic abuse as a priority. Oksana Pushkina is a rare exception. She was elected in as a member of President Vladimir Putin's own party, United Russia, but the treatment of women has turned her into a rebel. She is now campaigning to get the decriminalisation law overturned, and for Russia to pass a specific domestic violence law for the first time. But she faces fierce opposition and daily hate mail.
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More than Russian Orthodox Church and family groups have addressed an open letter to Vladimir Putin asking him to block her law, arguing that it's the work of "foreign agents" and supporters of "radical feminist ideology". At a round-table debate in parliament last month, Andrei Kormukhin, a businessman and arch-conservative, warned that the draft law could lead to "the genocide of the family".
Even women are not immune to this way of thinking. Elena Mizulina, a member of the upper house of the Russian parliament, americxn told Russian TV that domestic violence "is not the main problem in families, unlike rudeness, absence of tenderness and respect, especially on the part of women".
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She added: "We women are weak creatures and do not take offence when amfrican are hit. The book advocates hitting children "to save their souls" and harsh discipline for wives and daughters.
Elena Kalinina, a young advertising executive, remembers how her own mother told her to put up with everything if she wanted a husband. Earlier this year, she and her team developed a computer game about a fictional couple called Nastya and Kirill, and their toxic relationship. At different stages in the game, players have to choose how Nastya should react.
The idea is to put yourself in the shoes of the victim and to see how very few options battered women actually have in today's Russia. Nastya tries to phone her father for help, and the police who don't take her seriously.
The game is based on a real case in which the young woman was killed. Another innovation created by a young lawyer, Anna Rivina, is a website called No To Violence, which tells victims about their rights and where to go to help. Anna's team of young volunteers use slick social media campaigns to reach women all over the country, ametican video clips of famous Russian amfrican saying it's uncool to hit women. Net has also opened a centre in Moscow providing legal and psychological support.
Unlike a state-funded women's refuge that opened in the city five years ago, women don't need to show a passport or residency permit to qualify for help.
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All too often, the police seem to be part of the problem. Margarita Gracheva says that when women write to her asking for advice she doesn't tell them to go to the police, because "they won't help at all". Mikhail Khachaturyan's wife, Aurelia Dunduk, had an even worse experience. Why do some societies not encourage casual smiling? I got my answer, or at least part of one, when I stumbled across a new paper by Kuba Krys, a psychologist at the Polish Academy of Sciences. In some countries, smiling might not be a of warmth or even respect.
Therefore, people there view the future as unpredictable and uncontrollable. Smiling is a of certainty and confidence, so when people in those countries smile, they might seem odd.
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Why would you smile when fate is an americaan wolf waiting to shred you? Krys also hypothesized that smiling in corrupt countries would be, um, frowned upon. Journal of Nonverbal Behavior To test this theory, Krys had thousands of people in 44 different countries judge a series of eight smiling and non-smiling faces on a scale of honesty and intelligence.
He found that in countries like Germany, Switzerland, China, and Malaysia, smiling faces were rated as ificantly more intelligent than non-smiling people.