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  2. "As long as there is no law on domestic violence, all of us are Khachaturian sisters." Murmansk feminists held an action in support of victims of domestic violence

"As long as there is no law on domestic violence, all of us are Khachaturian sisters." Murmansk feminists held an action in support of victims of domestic violence

Yevgeny Pisarev
Photo: vk.com/murmanskgroup
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Four members of the regional Kostyor (‘Bonfire’) feminist group came out with posters to the sea Orthodox Church of the Savior on the Waters in support of Khachaturian sisters, who are on trial for the murder of their father who tortured them, and for the adoption of a law on the prevention of domestic violence. They called the action «Bridge of Sisters». The young women spent two hours in the street: they stood with thematic posters and handed out solidarity ribbons with the inscription #свободусестрамхачатурян (‘Freedom to Khachaturian Sisters’) to passers-by.

The record of the last action was published in the local community on vk.com. It gained more than 10 thousand views and more than 200 comments in a couple of hours.


— It is symbolic that we held the action near the Church and the memorial in memory of the Armenian genocide, — Elena Burnaza, an activist of the Kostyor fem-initiative, told 7x7. — A Christian woman participated in the picket line, and this is also important, because it is considered that the ROC and the religious have negative attitude towards both the bill [on the prevention of domestic violence] and the act of Khachaturian sisters. But in fact, there are parishioners who support the Bridge of Sisters action and share the views of human rights organizations.

Four young women took part in the action. Elena Burnaza believes that this is quite a lot.

- Three of them were over 30 years old. These are women who have families, and this means that the topic is relevant for families today in Russia, — she said. — We are now getting feedback on social networks. There is a lot of negativity, and for us it means that we have touched a social wound and this dialogue is important for everyone.

Actions in support of the victims of domestic violence were held in Moscow on the Patriarshy pedestrian bridge, as well as in St. Petersburg, Samara, Nizhny Novgorod, Togliatti, Rostov-on-Don and Kaliningrad on December 14.

The Kostyor feminist initiative group in Murmansk was established in April 2017. In November 2019, activists joined the all-Russian action against domestic violence. They painted graffiti calling for adoption of a law on domestic violence in Russia in an underpass on Schmidt street. But the inscription was painted over by public utilities on the same day. 

Krestina, Angelina, and Maria Khachaturian are accused of the murder of their father Mikhail Khachaturian by prior conspiracy (Paragraph "g" of Part 2 of Article 105 of the Criminal Code). Article provides punishment from 8 to 20 years of imprisonment. The defense argues that the girls found themselves in a desperate situation due to prolonged domestic violence and forced sexual acts. At the time of the crime, they were 19, 18, and 17 years old respectively. The case caused a wide public outcry, pickets for the mitigation of the girls’ sentence and the change of legislation in matters of violence were held in the regions of Russia.

According to the Ministry of Internal Affairs, 40% of all serious violent crimes in Russia are committed in the family. The law on domestic violence was drafted five years ago, but the terms of its consideration have been delayed. The Federation Council published the text of the draft law on the prevention of domestic violence for public discussion on November 29. This is a cut version of the bill, which was developed by the initiative group in the Human Rights Council under the President of the Russian Federation together with public organizations for the protection of women's rights.


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