"Alena Popova, an activist who has campaigned against the law, said it would be fine to pass the amendments if a draft law specifically aimed at tackling domestic violence was passed at the same time. But that law, which provides for restraining orders and other safeguards in domestic abuse cases, is stalled in parliament and is not expected to be passed.
'Passing these amendments and not passing the other law is another sign that our society refuses to take this problem seriously,' she said.
Defenders of the law say it closes a nonsensical loophole by which violent acts committed by family members are punished more harshly than those committed by strangers.
'The question is not whether it’s OK to hit or not. Of course it isn’t. The question is how to punish people and what you should punish them for,' said Olga Batalina, one of the MPs who drafted the law.
Others claim the law is about protecting Russian traditions according to which the family is sacred. Priest Dmitry Smirnov, head of the Russian Orthodox Patriarchy’s commission on family matters, said on a television programme that the idea the state should be able to poke its nose into family affairs was a western imposition on Russia. 'Some of the things happening in northern Europe now are such that even Hitler couldn’t have dreamed them up,' he said."
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