For the first time, the European Court of Human Rights asked Russian authorities how the police assessed possible risks for potential victims of domestic violence. This was reported by the press service of the Zona Prava (‘Zone of Law’) Human Rights Project.
The court asked this question after receiving a complaint of Nikolai Ovchinnikov from Cheboksary, who reported that the police had refused to investigate cases of domestic violence in the family of his daughter Anna Ovchinnikova. In September 2018, she was strangled with a belt by her own husband Alexander Anufriev. Before the tragedy, the woman applied to police about beatings and threats of homicide four times, but they refused to initiate criminal proceedings.
Valentina Frolova, a lawyer and curator of the Department for the Protection of Women's and Children's Rights in Zona Prava who represents the victim's father before the court, commented on the request of the ECHR to Russia to provide the methodology for domestic violence prevention:
“Special methods have been developed for law enforcement officers in many countries of the world — police officers ask victims about threats they received, the aggressor’s mental state, alcohol or drugs abuse, and access to weapons. As they get the answers, they decide which protection measures the victims need. There is no such system in Russia, because of which not only the victims suffer, but also police officers themselves: if a tragedy is not prevented, they are brought to justice for neglect of duty."
In March 2020, Nikolai Ovchinnikov from Cheboksary filed a complaint to the ECHR about the refusal of Russian police to investigate cases of domestic violence in his daughter's family. Although one of the family quarrels ended in homicide, the court found the inaction of the security forces legal.
In August-September 2018, having learned that his wife Anna Ovchinnikova was planning to divorce him, Alexander Anufriev threatened to kill her. The woman appealed to police several times, but her applications were ignored, though Anufriev had been convicted of aggravated double homicide. He ended up strangling his wife with a rope when he was drunk. Trying to fake her going missing, he put the body in a suitcase, went to the woods by taxi, and buried it. The Supreme Сourt of Chuvashia sentenced Anufriev to 15 years of imprisonment in a high-security colony. Police officers who refused to accept Ovchinnikova's application received a warning about misbehavior after her murder and continued to work in the Ministry of Internal Affairs.