Posted on May 11, 2020
In a further blow to President Vladimir Putin, Russia on Monday reported a record rise in the number of new coronavirus infections with 11,656 new cases in the last 24 hours, a phenomenon authorities attribute to a massive testing programme.
Russia's coronavirus response centre also reported 94 new deaths, taking the overall death toll to 2,009 people.
Apparently self-isolating since the beginning of April - the official line is that he is working from his Novo-Ogaryovo, his residence to the west of Moscow - widespread rumours suggest that he is in fact safely ensconced in the sumptuous villa's nuclear shelter, attended to by staff who are reportedly tested for the virus several times each week.
The Russian people, however, might not all be faring so well.
Incidents of domestic violence, a huge problem in Russia at the best of times, have soared during the lockdown.
Russia's Human Rights Commissioner Tatyana Moskalkova stated that cases had more than doubled from March to April: Russian police however said the number of domestic crimes actually fell by 13% during the lockdown, compared to the same month last year – a report dismissed by women’s rights campaigners as inaccurate as many victims do not report domestic abuse to the police.
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Russia currently has no law defining domestic violence and there is some resistance among conservative sections of society and politicians to criminalise it. They believe doing so would harm "traditional family values". In previous years attempts to criminalise domestic violence have been consistently opposed by the Russian Orthodox Church.
The head of the Russian Orthodox Church, Patriarch Kirill, has blithely dismissed the criminalisation of domestic violence as an "intrusion into family matters".
According to recent research commissioned by the Russian State Duma, domestic violence takes place in approximately one out of ten Russian families. 70% of those surveyed report that they have experienced or are experiencing domestic violence: 80% are women, with children and elderly people coming behind.
In 2008 Lt. General Mikhail Artamoshkin of Russia's Ministry of Internal Affairs reported that very year about 14,000 women died at the hands of their partners or other relatives, and 3,000 women killed their partners.
A staggering two thirds of premeditated murders alone take place in the home in the country: of those that are un-premeditated alcohol is generally a factor.
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