We present a report that reflects (as far as it is possible at present moment) statistics about femicide in Russian Federation. Official sources either do not exist or cannot be trusted. The Russian authorities suppose that collecting such statistics is unnecessary. In general in Russian Federation the notion of gender-directed violence and the need to address it within the legal framework is not known. As a result people in Russian Federation are totally unaware about femicide.
The independent team at femicide.net collected the presented statistics based on news about femicide in Russia in 2019.The researchers looked at publically accessible news sites in all 84 regions of Russia (excluding annexed Crimea and Sevastopol) and noted reports about killing of women. The information was then checked against websites of the prosecutor’s offices, courts, and investigative committees. The resulting data was then entered into a table that reflected demography, social status, relations between the victim and the perpetrator, circumstances of the crime, the course of the investigation and its conclusion. The collected statistics for 2019 are very different from those voiced by representatives of the authorities in their speeches. It falcifies the recently published “Report of the Russian Federation about successes and problems encountered in the matter implementation of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action and final documents of the 23rd special session of the UN General Assembly”. In our opinion that report tried in general to present the situation in Russia in the most positive light, juggling with numbers and using bureaucratic language. For example, the authors tried to show that the authorities had taken all necessary measures to achieve gender equality including taking into account the recommendations of international organizations. This is not true and the situation in Russia is very patriarchal. Women in power make up a tiny percentage, crisis centers are underfunded or non-existing. The general tendency is to educate future generations in a patriarchal and militaristic style, there is no sexual education, there is no laws about femicide or even law about domestic violence. Wome n remain powerless, their situation is deteriorating every day. Russia is a country that is dangerous to women.
Participated in the creation of the English version of the report: Ekaterina Bakhrenkova (Moscow, Russia), Lyubava Malysheva (Barcelona, Spain). Experts and translators: Natasha Sharymova (New York, USA), Ekaterina Drobyazko (Cologne, Germany), Lena Gruntova (Moscow, Russia), Anna Barantseva (Puerto Misahuallí, Napo, Ecuador), Dmitry Stepanov (Nizhny Novgorod). Calculations Igor Bukanov (Oslo, Norway). Banner with photos of victims of Russian femicide: Valeria Sokolova (Nürnberg, Germany).
March 8, 2020
Word of the Year in Russia: FEMICID
research on femicide news in Russia in 2019
The Russian state has fully complied with the obligation to create a legislative framework that effectively addresses the problem of domestic violence … The Representative of the Russian Federation at the European Court of Human Rights is Mikhail Halperin, Deputy Minister of Justice of the Russian Federation. Russia’s reply to the ECHR, Kommersant, 11.19.2019
The goal. It is normal that civilians and society control news about crimes and measures that the state is taking to protect citizens. In 2019 the independent project femicid.net began to collect news about femicide and publish data in the public domain. It is not this fact that is strange but that no one had done this before.
Federal and regional news and media websites of the Russian Federation, publishing news about the crimes.
News published on official websites of The Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation and its territorial departments.
News published on official websites of Federal Subjects’ Prosecutors Offices of the Russian Federation.
News published on official websites of Regional and District Courts of the Russian Federation.
Joint research of Novaya Gazeta newspaper and the Mediazona news website “Now I will be killing you, bitch”. Majority of Russian women imprisoned for murder had been defending themselves from domestic violence”, 2019, available in Russian at https://zona.media/article/2019/11/25/women-105
To Remain Alive: Violence Against Women in Russia. Edited by M. Pisklakova-Parker and A. Sinelnikov, Moscow, Anna Center, The National Center for the Prevention of Violence, 2020.
Global Study on Homicide: Gender-related killing of women and girls. Wien: United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, 2019, available at https://www.unodc.org/documents/data-and-analysis/gsh/Booklet_5.pdf
Official statistics of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of the Russian Federation for January-September, 2019. Available in Russian at https://xn--b1aew.xn--p1ai/reports/item/18556721/
Russian Statistical Yearbook 2018. Rosstat, Moscow 2018. Available in Russian at https://www.gks.ru/free_doc/doc_2018/year/year18.pdf
Women and men of Russia. 2018. Statistical Book. Rosstat, Moscow, 2018. Available in Russian at https://www.gks.ru/free_doc/doc_2018/wo-man18.pdf
Russia in Figures. Statistical Handbook. Rosstat, Moscow, 2017. Available in English at https://www.gks.ru/free_doc/doc_2017/rusfig/rus17e.pdf
The method. 38 alerts, news alerts with keywords were configured in the gmail inbox, and changes were made to the google table every day for a year. The approximate number of articles that we processed was about 200 per day. Thus, the news we found was random and did not cover the entire array of femicide cases. The crime could fall into our study in the form of news about the murder, search, investigation, trial, sentence, attempt to falsify the case. When new data appeared in the progress of the investigation, they were added to the table.
When we were faced with the question which cases to include in the study and which not, we wrote “Femicide Criteria” based on documents from foreign antifemicide groups (Georgia, Latin America). Creating alerts, we also analyzed the flow of news about femicide. Based on this part of the work, we wrote recommendations for the media “How to Write About F emicide”.
Complexities of the method: emotionally heavy material, high probability of creating double cases, lack of information from regions without independent media.
The calculations were carried out using standard Google table tools. As of March 6, 2020, there are 1518 news for the year 2019 in the table, in November 2020 we will once again analyze the data of 2019. 856 cases for 2018, which are also in the table, we will check for doubles, arrange and recalculate into coefficients later. Since the beginning of the year, 200 news of femicide in 2020 have been discovered. On the tab of the table “Statistics” you can find the results of statistical analysis of 2019. The coefficient of femicide reported in news, CNF was calculated according to the standard formula that is used all over the world: the number of murders was divided by the number of female population in the district (region) and multiplied by 100 thousand. We calculated the coefficient for all detected cases of femicide in general and separately for those in which the killer partner was familiar to the victim (coefficient of intimate femicide reported in news, CNFi). Once again, we want to emphasize that the CNF is calculated on the news and does not reflect the real situation with the killings, CNF (I) in our calculations is not only news on femicide from “husbands”. Obviously, the actual femicide ratio is even greater. We also manually checked the sites of investigative committees, prosecutors and courts, as the news of these sites do not always fall into the search engine results. In sparsely populated regions, this significantly increased the number of data.
List of alerts: “Killing of a girl”, “Killing of a female partner”, “Shot his wife”, ”Female killing case investigated”, “Female body with violent murder evidence”, “Killed his adopted daughter”, “Body of a killed young woman”, “The woman killed”, “The woman died in a hospital after”, “Death from home violence”, “Senior female murder”, “Son killed mother”, “Suspected in girl’s killing is detained”, “Hid the killed woman’s body”, “Killed his female neighbor”, “Suspected in schoolgirl’s killing is detained”, “Schoolgirl’s killing” etc.
Why can’t we just get femicide statistics from the Ministry of internal affairs?
First of all, because Russian laws do not define “gender-based violence” and “femicide”.
From the report of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, Crime Status (January-September 2019), we cannot find out how many women were killed in 2019. A visit to the federal statistics website to find answers to questions of interest to us is futile.
On November 22, 2019, we attended the Moscow meeting of the Swedish and Russian parliamentarians, where the representative of the Russian Ministry of Internal Affairs, the head of the Office of Law Enforcement Organization in the Residential Sector and activities to implement the administrative legislation of the Main Directorate for ensuring the protection of public order and coordination with executive authorities of the constituent entities of the Russian Federation Ministry of the Interior of the Russian Federation (GUOOOP MIA of Russia), police colonel Stanislav Kolesnik said in Russia in 2019, 175 women died in the family. Apparently, the Ministry of Internal Affairs considers only marital violence “domestic”. We found (table on the right) news of 620 cases of femicide from an intimate partner, 78 – from a former intimate partner (total 698), 275 from other relatives and 345 – from acquaintances, 1 – murder of a woman by police, a district police officer and his colleagues. The table in the “killer information” chapter (below) contains more information about police officers and femicide. As for the category of “acquaintances”, as well as the category of “unknown” (155) – there intimacy, close connection of any kind with the victim, are also not excluded.
|А male acquaintance||345|
|Former intimate partner||78|
All Russian published state statistics on violence are untrue. The number of femicides is diligently understated: “According to the data of the Ministry of Internal Affairs for 2015 304 women died at the hands of husbands, and not 14,000 at all”. These statistics were voiced by a senator from the Omsk region (20 news about femicide, CNF 2.01) Elena Mizulina, speaking in the Federation Council. What exact criteria were used to calculate this figure remains unknown.
Where are femicides hidden? From the collection of the Federal State Statistics Service 2018 “Women and men of Russia. 2018 ”we can learn that, for example, in 2017, 36.2 thousand women died from “external causes of death”. Federal State Statistics Bureau aka Rosstat considers poisoning, accidental falls, strangulation or drowning, damage without specifying their accidental or intentional nature, accidents caused by electric shock, fire, firearms, accidents during treatment, suicide, traffic accidents, death from terrorism and on war, killings as the external causes of death. One glance at this list is enough to understand that behind each of the external causes there will be a hidden femicide.
To create a public opinion that there is no femicide the idea “women also kill, and with particular cruelty” is used. The same argument is heard from the proponents of domestic violence: “women also hit, and with particular cruelty.” But it seems that this is not the case. The FSGS chart for 2018 on the left presents a comparison of the number of criminals and criminals.
← Number of men and women who committed crimes (*1000 people). The top line is men. From official data published in 2018.
Official statistics from the Ministry of Internal Affairs for January-September 2019 refute those “women too” arguments. Women commit significantly fewer crimes, namely 16%.
Among the especially serious crimes committed by women, a large number are suspicious of self-defense (self-defense in 79% of cases), the consequences of rape, systemic patriarchal terror for life, exhaustion from unpaid reproductive work. Part of the “female” crimes are committed in the interests of men; the question “what part” can be answered only by examining the cases.
Due to the fact that up-to-date information on 2019 indicators of interest to us has not yet been published, we were forced to look at the statistics of the previous year. Moreover, these statistics, although published in 2018, apply to 2017. Data for 2018 has not yet been published as well. All official statistics are provided with data including cases from the Crimea, we excluded data from annexed territories in our study.
Women make up 54% of Russia’s population (Russian Statistical Yearbook 2018). That is, 54% of the population (female class) commits 16% of crimes, and 46% of the population (male class) – 84% of crimes. Women commit significantly fewer crimes. What are these crimes and against whom are they committed?
Let’s look at the table Distribution of women and men who committed crimes in 2017 by type of crime. In 2017, women committed 15.2% of all crimes, men 84.8%. Among male crimes, 87% (among female crimes of 13%) are especially serious. 1,400 female murders and attempted murders – including self-defense, assassination attempts, collective suicide of mothers and children, female femicide, etc. – stand against 7900 murders and attempted murders – both against women and against men. 18.1% of the intentional infliction of grievous bodily harm is also stratified into the above categories. Some part of the especially grave crimes are committed by 9.8% of criminals – minors. A more detailed study of the motives of “female” murders would greatly change public views on the “special danger and cruelty of women”.
From the following official table, we see that the number of women and men victims of crimes related to violent acts in 2017 is also uneven.
The number of affected men is 57.9%, and the number of affected women is 42.1%. It seems that some equality has been achieved here, if we miss out that the most serious crimes are committed by men anyway (87%), including those against other men. Men are killed mainly by men.
Women make up the vast majority of victims of sexualized violence.
Interestingly, the article of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation under the title “Rape” (Article 131 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation) describes only one type of sexualized violence, namely the rapist is always a man, the victim is always a woman, and the form is always violent vaginal penetration by the penis. All other options for the composition of the rapist / victim, as well as other types of violent acts that violate sexual integrity, are qualified as “violent acts of a sexual nature” (Article 132 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation). But even if we summarize all four articles included in the statistics describing sexualized violence, including those committed against minors, the vast majority of victims are women and girls.
According to a report by the “Anna Center” in March 2020, 40% of women’s murders remain latent, that is, fall into other categories of statistics. “A number of studies conducted on the basis of primary non-personalized data sources on mortality in certain regions of Russia confirmed the assumption that deaths from homicide re underestimated. For example, researchers have shown that for the Sakhalin region real losses from murders in men exceeded the official figures by 2.9 times, and among women by 2.5 times.” Semenova V.G, Gavrilova N.S., Zaporozhchenko V.G. “Problems of accounting for mortality from external causes, 2017”.
Russia is a country unsafe for women.
How has this situation arisen? It’s hardly a coincidence that all authorities and law institutions in the Russian Federation are headed by men, laws are approved by men and in the interests of men, the ratio of women’s wages to men’s wages in all categories of employment is 67-71%, reproductive and domestic labor is assigned to women (see tab Time spent on housekeeping in the report “Women and Men of Russia, 2018”), and this labor is not recognized as valuable and therefore is not paid for. It is not possible to recover child support from the deserter father in Russia. 456 professions are currently prohibited for Russian women.
The society is cultivating the idea that increased male aggression and social irresponsibility are a consequence of male nature and constitute the inevitability with which nothing can be done. But such ideas contradict a) the reality of developed countries, b) the idea of a rule of law and the equality of citizens before the law. Such ideas justify the epidemic of machist violence, justify femicide – systemic terror against women of all ages.
Even open gender crime data from the Ministry of Internal Affairs are enough to justify the need to recognize the problem of femicide in Russia, the adoption of the law on femicide, to understand the importance of public and state ideas about the inviolability of women. But in this study, we will provide even more evidence that Russian women can no longer remain defenseless victims of the dominant rapist class.
We see in Russia signs of the catastrophe of a post-dictatorial society, the legacy of the Soviet consumer attitude towards people, the proclamation of dominance, aggressiveness, militarism, machismo.
Femicide rates in Russia, 2019
The news summary table we worked with is attached to this report in pdf format. The Internet version will be enriched with data and the numbers there will change. We calculated the coefficients of the intimate (acquaintances and relatives) femicide in news CNF (I) and the total femicide in news CNF for the country, region and areas.
The numerator in CNF (I) is calculated as the amount of news in which the killers were intimate partners, acquaintances and relatives of all categories. The category “unknowns” was not included, although the intimacy of the nature of the relationship is still possible in these cases.
|Total femicide in news||Intimate femicide in news||Number
|Region of the Russian Federation||1518||1319||77,418,415||1.96||1.70|
|City of federal significance Moscow||70||45||6,785,893||1.03||0.66|
|City of federal significance St. Petersburg||37||29||2,945,964||1.26||0.98|
|Jewish Autonomous Region||3||3||84,030||3.57||3.57|
|Nizhny Novgorod Region||29||26||1,754,201||1.65||1.48|
|Republic of Adygea||4||2||242,245||1.65||0.83|
|Republic of Bashkortostan||53||48||2,151,688||2.46||2.23|
|Republic of Buryatia||19||18||514,338||3.69||3.50|
|Republic of Dagestan||9||7||1,597,011||0.56||0.44|
|Republic of Ingushetia||1||0||271,242||0.37||0.00|
|Republic of Kalmykia||2||1||141,719||1.41||0.71|
|Republic of Karelia||10||8||336,180||2.97||2.38|
|Republic of Mari El||8||7||362,838||2.20||1.93|
|Republic of Mordovia||7||7||421,125||1.66||1.66|
|Republic of Sakha (Yakutia)||8||7||497,596||1.61||1.41|
|Republic of North Ossetia||3||2||375,374||0.80||0.53|
|Republic of Tatarstan||39||34||2,091,999||1.86||1.63|
|Republic of Khakassia||8||8||286,900||2.79||2.79|
|Chukotka Autonomous Okrug||1||1||24,450||4.09||4.09|
|10 regions, most news about femicide||Total femicide in news||Intimate femicide in news CNF||Number of women||CNF||CNF (I)|
|Chukotka Autonomous Okrug||1||1||24,450||4.09||4.09|
|10 regions, most news about intimate femicide||Total femicide in news||Intimate femicide in news CNF||Number of women||CNF||CNF (I)|
|Chukotka Autonomous Okrug||1||1||24,450||4.09||4.09|
|Jewish Autonomous Region||3||3||84,030||3.57||3.57|
|The Republic of Buryatia||19||18||514,338||3.69||3.50|
To calculate the femicide news ratio, we needed to find out the female population by counties and regions. Using the estimated data on the population of Russia by region as of January 1, 2019, the news femicide coefficient for Russia was calculated to be 1.96. Again, it’s not the the “coefficient of femicide”, but the number of news about femicide in Russia per 100 thousand women for 2019. We also calculated the coefficient of news of intimate femicide, where we used only the news of the murders by relatives (including any intimate partners) and acquaintances.
|Federal district||Total femicide
in news CNF
|Number of women||CNF||CNF (I)|
The interpretation of these results still remains problematic. 1.96 for the country, 7.62 for the Kamchatka Territory, 4.79 for the Ulyanovsk Region — whether these numbers are high or not? Why in some regions, for example, in the North Caucasus Federal District, where honor killings are common, does the coefficient tend to zero? Since we don’t know the real number of femicides, we’ll try to compare at least CNF 1.96 with the coefficients of femicides of other countries using the data of the UN report “Gender-related killing of women and girls”, released in 2019 and signed by a Russian diplomat.
The black columns on the UN charts on the right indicate the total number of femicides, the pink ones indicate the number of murders by intimate partners (in the case of our CNF (I), killers are acquaintances, not intimate partners). It can be seen that the difference between the number of intimate and non-intimate femicides exists everywhere, but it is especially large in countries where there are many cases of human rights violations. Low rates of femicide are characteristic of legal states with a developed civil society.
Why is the level of femicide higher in Russia than in democratic countries? Why is the legal situation for women in the Far Eastern Federal District more like Uruguayan than British?
One of the reasons behind the situation might be the fact that Russia still has no effective state program against violence against women. There is no ministry for women and equal opportunities. A government commission to ensure a Russian presence on the Spitsbergen archipelago is available. A government commission for compatriots abroad is available. And even the Government Commission on the development and implementation of anti-drug programs that ensure the interests of the Russian Federation in Central Asia is available. But we never meet the word “woman” in the names of ministries, nor in the names of other government bodies.
There is not a single Russian women’s organization that would openly talk about the existence of femicide in the country. Women are quite scarcely represented among positions of high authority. Reaching the heights of the power pyramid, they remain puppets acting in the interests of men. The State Duma of the Russian Federation has a Committee on Family, Women and Children, and a Gender Coordination Council has been created at the Russian Ministry of Labor, but they work against women’s rights. E.g. the aforementioned committee of the State Duma was headed by Elena Mizulina, an abortion, “gay propaganda” and adoptive parents fighter, and she is the author of the law on decriminalization of beatings. The Coordination Council under the Ministry of Labor has not met for 4 years.
Since 1954, there has been a Minister of Gender Equality in Sweden, since 1994 the number of women in the Swedish parliament exceeds 40%, and in the government number of women is even higher and is about 50%, since 2005, the Feminist Initiative Party has been operating. In 1997, the United Kingdom Secretary of State for Women and Equal Opportunities appeared; in South Korea, the Minister for Gender Equality and Family Affairs has been working since 1998. The Committee on Gender Equality has existed in the Danish Parliament since 2011. In Canada, the Department of Women and Gender Equality was founded in 2018. Ministry of Children, Equality and Social Integration, Norwegian Feminist Initiative created in Norway appeared in 2015. The Women’s Forum operates under the Ministry of Health of Israel, and the Women’s Office under the Australian Government. National Program of Action of Finland 2018–2021 called “Women, Peace and Security”. In Barcelona, a super-efficient city program has been developed to counter machist violence. OSCE distributes gender police reform program.
Age of women killed and age of male killers in Russia, 2019
|Murdered woman||Age||Men are killers of women|
Comparison of the age of victims and murderers in the categories “0-6, 7-18, 19-24, 25-35, 36-50, 51-70, 71-100, unknown” reveals paradoxes. So, the risk of being killed by a machist being a woman is high from birth and only increases further through life. Men begin to kill women at a very young age and the degree of threat from them does not decrease to negligible. Partners from intergenerational intimate relationships, namely young intimate partners of older women, younger than 5 years or more (81) and older intimate partners, older than 5 years or more, of young women (153) make a significant part of the statistics of femicide.
The old age of femicide victim is a reason for public indifference (“has outlived oneself”), and the old age of a woman killer is a reason for indulgence. In the case when a man killed a landlady at a party, the jury found that he deserved leniency. “When sentencing, mitigating circumstances were taken into account: confession, old age, the presence of chronic diseases, positive characteristics,” the Svetlogorsk City Court press service explained … ”
Which relatives kill women in Russia more often?
Looking for the answer we found out that, after intimate partners and acquaintances, a huge number of murders are committed by sons and grandchildren. The classification of the relationship between male killers and female victims used for the study was presented above, but we repeat it below:
|Former intimate partner||78|
|Close male relative||71|
|Distant male relative||16|
Intimate partner and former intimate partner (husband, cohabitant, lover, groom, boyfriend)
Familiar (drinking companion, fellow villager, colleague, neighbor, tenant, former employee, colleague, driving instructor)
Son or grandson
Close male relative (father, son-in-law, cohabitant or lover of a daughter, stepfather, cohabitant of a mother, cohabitant of a sister, husband of a sister, brother of a cohabitant, brother of a husband, brother) – but not a son or grandson
Criminal (pseudo-buyer of a car, pseudo-buyer of an apartment, pseudo-client in a store, maniac, client of a prostitute – acquaintance or intimacy is not excluded)
Distant male relative (stepson of the daughter, uncle, grand-nephew, nephew, relative, cousin, brother of the cohabitant, brother of the cohabitant of the mother, nephew)
Former relative (ex-son-in-law, ex-husband of granddaughter)
Police officer (not relative)
The nature of the relationship is unknown (intimate and kindred are not excluded, acquaintance is not excluded)
Relationship options listed in brackets are not general but specifically those we have found information about.
In our classification we focus not on a meticulous explanation of the degree of intimacy, but on a broad generalization of intimate relationships. Documentary evidence of intimate relationships (husband or partner) is important for a patriarchal state, but not for feminist research.
We found 44 cases in which the killer was an unfamiliar criminal and 155 in which we do not know anything about the nature of the relationship between the victim and the killer.
How Russian women are killed
We intentionally applied a non-standard and heterogeneous classification of methods of killing women in Russia to illustrate the degree of public danger of different types of femicides: stabbed (with a knife or other cutting object), beaten (with hands, feet or objects), strangled, drowned, fire (burned the victim or house ), hacked, dismembered, thrown from a height, shot, killed with electricity, raped (when she died after rape, rape is not excluded in previous methods of murder), crushed on a car intentionally.
More cruel methods absorb (and do not exclude) all the others. That is, if a woman was stabbed and dismembered, we indicated “dismembered” in our table. “Fire” as a socially dangerous ending, which in essence is an extended femicide (often neighbors die during it, evacuate houses), we chose as a maximum. Although in fact the word “fire” also refers to cases when the victim was doused with combustible liquid or when lonely houses were burning, we emphasize here the socially dangerous method, the symbolic extreme cruelty of the chosen behavior, elements of the machist triumph. We also attribute the dismemberment of the victim to the extreme manifestations of cruelty due to the socially dangerous influence of this type of behavior.
It must be remembered that Russian culture traditionally romanticizes and justifies many ways and “reasons” for murders and even dismemberments (see the group of defenders “Save Oleg Sokolov”), nurtures myths of romantic love, love to the grave, halves, and deadly jealousy and fidelity, virginity, scolded honor, heroic lifeguard-defender, objectification of women, cliches about revenge and retaliation, porno-cultural tales.
The real causes of gender-based killings are dominance, hatred, misogyny, voluptuous pleasure from the subjugation and suffering of other people, the need for which, again, is brought up by male gender socialization, socially dangerous gender socialization.
Some categories of our classification (for example, “stabbed”) do not show the degree of cruelty. Stabbed means one stab and 160 stabs. Zombie cases where a man, like a jammed killing machine, strikes endlessly, are not isolated. Zombie actions reflect the true nature of femicide and the degree of mental disorders in machists. Practical example: take a pillow and try to hit it 160 times – at least with your fist. A huge number of women are killed that way, punches. But even more often, the phallic symbol becomes a murder weapon – a knife, a gun, an ax, a stick, a leg from a chair. The sexopathological context and misogyny were constantly revealed by us while studying the news.
Due to the fact that we adhere to the idea of zero tolerance for machist violence, we decided to equalize the degree of cruelty and the degree of social danger of one fatal knife stab and 160 fatal knife stabs. Fixation of the degree of violence and the description of many details, in our opinion, are vestiges of patriarchal justice and journalism, contribute to the dissemination of information about the methods of killing women, the appearance of imitators and the normalization of macho cruelty.
Patriarchal journalism covering femicides contributes to the dehumanization of society. We emphasize the need for a broad discussion of the antifemicidal style in the media.
|Killing method||Number of cases|
|Dropped from a height||20|
|Left without help||1|
Femicide: mental illness or social norm?
In news reports we see that many murderers have a blurry combination of various psychiatric diagnoses – alcoholism, drug addiction, gambling, schizophrenia, epilepsy, depression, sadism and other disorders (in 673 cases we found 1 diagnosis, in 121 – 2 or more, but combinations were not excluded in any categories). The role of mental illness in the structure of femicides is important to consider in the context of patriarchal psychiatry and justice. Psychiatrists issue sanity conclusions of murderers which allow to isolate a person in prison or apply a compulsory treatment.
Killer mental illness:
|Alcoholism (not excluded from other categories)||673|
|Jealousy (not excluded from other categories)||128|
|Sadism (not excluded from other categories)||70|
|Drug addiction (not excluded from other categories)||30|
|Other (not excluded from other categories)||45|
|Not diagnosed or diagnosis unknown||704|
|Just 1 diagnosis||693|
|2 or more diagnosis||121|
We do not believe that modern penitentiary and healthcare systems in Russia are somehow capable of solving problems of femicide.
We do not believe that murdering a woman is an acceptable behavior and that a “sane” person can knowingly kill women of their own free will. It is impossible to consider as “norm” and “sanity” what is a pathological manifestation of toxic masculinity.
Actually, we are talking about a collective murder – a class of men for whom killing, raping, torturing or depriving women of resources for survival is a way of a normal wellbeing and permanent sadistic pleasure.
Every man somehow receives additional privileges from the fact that all women are oppressed.
Social norms favoring the dominance, power and control of men over women are the main cause of femicide, including burdened with psychiatric diagnoses. Alcoholism in itself (673 evidences) as any other mental illness cannot be the cause of femicide. This is validated by the statistics of European countries. Alcohol releases a notion that has been absorbed by men from society (128 unconditional evidences of jealousy, which was not excluded in other categories, see the myth of mortal jealousy and fidelity above). Therefore, we are against the stigmatization of mentally ill people: the presence of a mental illness may be a circumstance of a murder, or it may not be. But a femicidal social system is an indispensable condition for femicide.
The only possibility to protect women from rapists is by isolating them for life. The word “isolation” that we use is not equal to “Russian prison” where people are humiliated, tortured and killed. A Russian prison is a factory in which women murderers are produced or prisoners get more dangerous for society. We see the Norwegian prisons as a good example of anti femicide centers for female murderers where convicted people receive behavioral training, education, profession and study ways of alternative non-dominant self-realization in the future.
We expect that the attention should be paid not only to isolating killers, but to preventing femicidal thinking in men. All media resources, stateal systems of communication with citizens, educational and entertainment institutions should pursue a policy of anti-machismo. We suggest taking Catalonia as an example. Anti Femicide program stickers, badges, posters, banners, leaflets, posters, books, films should be distributed everywhere and constantly.
We see as a modern society norm anti homicidal thinking and promote this norm always and everywhere. From experience of Western countries we see the great effectiveness of such efforts. Notable success can be achieved in a few years at the level of entire countries.
Sisters massive grave
In modern media we see a paradox that names of killers are published more often (212) than names of victims (183). The court frequently turns to a place of worship of the perpetrator. We consider as being femicidal a tradition of oblivion and concealment of names and stories of victims with a pretext of being careful to feelings of relatives and other dubious principles or laws. Victims and murderers names must be made public. We require an open official state register of rapists. The concealment of victims’ names is, among other things, victimization, not only of those killed, but of all victims of machist violence. We propose creating a memorial similar to the Turkish memorial to victims of femicide. Positive experience of other countries, in particular Spain and France, indicates the need for at least a monthly public collective statement against femicide with a list of names of the deceased and update of requirements for antifemicidal measures. Such constant pressure on central and regional authorities changes the political climate and helps to stop the femicide epidemic.
Why keep track of things?
Our close attention to each investigation is a response to how society can respond to every case of femicide. The death of every woman is a social disaster on a national scale. We see the necessity of creation of public commissions in every region to control femicidal processing. Not one woman less, not one more femicide.
|in the court||255|
|criminal case opened||103|
|criminal case investigation||46|
|no criminal case opened||3|
The inevitability of minor retaliation
There is a popular belief that the offender is not stopped by cruelty, but by the inevitability of punishment. In the case of femicides, we see dozens of relapses, light sentences and shortened isolation periods. A sentence for participation in a demonstration or repost in social media can be harder than for killing a female.
Male killers know that the punishment will be insignificant even in case of second and third crime against a person. Leaving at large after an apparent murder, probation or release in a courtroom is not uncommon in femicid cases in Russia.
As we speak on behalf of victims who do not have a voice anymore, we were wondering whether the gravity of the sentence handed down to the murderer matters to women who have already been killed. Should we study exactly how the killer will serve his term – whether it will be a strict regime or a special regime? Finally, we realized that it didn’t matter to the victim how much the killer would suffer.
It is important for living women to know for how long he is isolated. They’d like to know that the killer won’t do them any more harm. The outcome of “suicide,” “murder in pre-trial detention,” “murder in prison” carries only one information: “this killer of women will not kill anyone else.” By all means, we do not support the patriarchal idea of the death penalty.
Murderers isolation period
The Russian state never pays decent compensation for femicide to relatives or other people and communities affected by femicide. Despite the fact that it is the state that should protect against femicide. The murderers are rarely sentenced to compensation, and if they do, these compensations are ridiculous. The case of Valeria Volodina (ECHR ordered Russia to pay the surviving victim of the violence 25 875 euros: “In the lawsuit Volodin stated that the police and courts of Ulyanovsk, and then Moscow evaded the duty to pursue her partner, who beat her, threatened her and her child’s murder, damaged the brake system in her car, took away her documents and mobile phone, and published her intimate photos in the public domain”) and other cases of violence now before the ECHR, suggest that the Russians should be required by the State to compensate for femicide. French women now demand a billion euros from their government for anti-machisonal violence programs, they write on the posters “Nous voulons un milliard, pas un million.” This can be considered compensation for the loss of members of society and the real danger to the lives of the rest of the women.
It doesn’t matter who you are
|Femicide victim social status||Quantity|
Investigating the roots of femicide, many researchers study the social and family status of victims and murderers, count their children, compare ages, evaluate victim’s lifestyle and health conditions. We also studied these parameters and concluded that the main reason for femicide is not the specifics of the situation, nor the status of the victim or the murderer, but the hatred of men towards women as a social class. We see victimization and femicidal thinking in attempts to find reasons for femicide on the victim’s side or “mitigating” circumstances on the killer’s side.
Information about the killers of women
In the table of information about the killers, the “policeman (former policeman, prison officer) is both a relative and not a relative, whereas in the table of intimate relations the “policeman” was not a relative.
|Murderer social status||Quantity|
The place you will be murdered
The most dangerous places for a Russian woman are her own home, a way home or a street. A small percentage of murders are committed on a visit, in the woods and on the shore. We have not been able to identify places where women should stay in the hope of not being killed. To avoid femicide, you need to stay away from men.
|Place of murder||Number of cases|
|Common place of work||2|
Will you be raped before death?
It is extremely rare to find in the news information about rape (42), rarely it is taken into account during the investigation and trial. We suspect that in cases of murders of women, especially in cases of murders by intimate partners (husbands) rape is not noticed, mentioned, does not draw attention – except in some absolutely exorbitant cases. People in Russia frecuently think that it is impossible to rape your intimate partner and there is some kind of oxymoron in this. It is believed that men enter into relationships with women primarily for the sake of sexual contact and sex is something that should be provided at any time. The consent is asked at best only on the day of acquaintance. Rape, after which the victim survived, is considered as an easy and not remarcable incident (“did not kill the same”, “she probably liked”). Rape of women involved in prostitution is a bit of an anecdote, because they are just self-serving women, live in a free country and have made their own choices. They have to adore violence.
If there was no rape at the time of femicide, many do not see the intimate component in the murder. Even if it is committed by an intimate partner. Explaining that intimate femicide covers a huge range of murders by relatives and acquaintances and almost always has a patriarchal-pornographic-pathological nature – even more difficult. Crisis centres do not call rape sex and it is worth to have in mind creating new laws.
Is there anything special about Russian Femicide? According to news most of the female victims get killed by their intimate partner or relatives.Social hopelessness, economic lawlessness and horrific crime rate force women to live together with socially-resourceful rapists, endure or support their constant drunkenness, endure endless beatings – or psychological and economic terror, constant control, and attacks of jealousy. This is an idea of less harm (“living with one rapist is better than being abused by many”), but it does not work.
A large number of Russians die from young male intimate partners (less than 5 years older and younger: 81), from older male intimate partners (5 years or more years older: 153). This is an intergenerational abuse with femicide in the finale. We haven’t seen killer grandchildren (25) and killer sons (152) on such scale in the statistics of European femicides. It turns out that Russian mothers and grandmothers themselves raise their killers, suffering from systemic violence on their part throughout their lives.
Many studies have found that a family role in raising a child is not as significant as it seems. In fact, an attempt to raise a boy in a femicidal society that respects the rights of women is doomed to failure. Every man, leaving the door of the mother’s apartment, receives a powerful social signal: force, dominate, kill. There is only one mother and ranks of rapists on the other side. Mothers should team up to stop the femicidal kindergarten with blue and pink toys, the femicide school with separate lessons for boys and girls, the pedophile teachers, lessons of religion instead of sexology, to stop the femicidal universities with maniac teachers, as well as conservative censorship of children’s literature.
We see as a Russian peculiarity that no crisis center will give a woman enough economic and social support. A solution can be grassroots-social such as women’s mutual assistance groups, groups of young mothers, groups of neighbors and groups of activists. Foundation and financing of a sufficient number of crisis centers is a very important step forward.
The convention of our statistics is that we had to ignore the cases of collective murder (several killers) – 41 cases and mass killings (several victims) – 138 cases. We counted each murder as a separate one out of respect for each victim. We tried to consider extended cases, but came to the conclusion that we do not need a clear boundary in this area. There is no unique victim and unique murder, a lot of people always get affected receiving lifelong injuries or supporting murders.
For example, for each case of femicide, the entire governing system is responsible, as well as ombudsmen, police, deputies, house committees, colleagues, relatives, friends and neighbors. None of the killings happened unexpectedly, there has always been public indifference. Even in those extremely rare cases when a maniac was running around the city killing everyone in a row, there was a rank of negligent Russian officials behind.
But a victim is always collective as well – those who suffer lifelong loss of their mother, grandmother, daughter, sister, girlfriend, colleague, neighbor. Femicide affects all women because it increases a degree of danger of life in a disenfranchised society. Femicide affects all men. Patriarchy as a system of social organization has a negative effect on men and prevents all types of non-pathological self-realization, non-pathological sexuality. Getting used to the “normality” of killing women and seeing the next manifestation of the highest degree of biological dominance, every man loses his own legal freedoms and perspective.
Killer female accomplices and other contentious cases
We do not dispose enough data on female accomplices in the murders of women, but we refuse to unequivocally interpret such cases without a detailed study of each case and blame women exclusively. It is important to understand that most of the infanticides, murders and suicides committed by women are committed in the interests of men or under their influence. Female suicides, women who died from the negligence of doctors or social workers, women with disabilities, abandoned by society in a helpless state, murdered baby girls are all forms of hidden femicides that need to be dealt with in detail.
Actually, we should have studied separately all cases of accomplices, as well as all the news about gender killings. Even about the murders by men of all those who have less resources or represent vulnerable groups such as the elderly or the young men, queer, pensioners, boys. Traditionally in other countries murders of women involved in prostitution, gays, lesbians and trans persons are singled out in separate categories. Women are also counting the killing of women and the killing of their own children by women. We didn’t have enough time to count everyone. We hope that other activists will find a way to gather all information about gender killings in Russia and make a complete analysis of the situation. However, we emphasize the fact that if only two women without any funding and without support of the state were able to find information about more than a thousand murders, structure and analyze it, then you can act much more more effectively than you think. Even one woman can do a lot
It is considered a success if women’s self-defense is recognized by the Russian court not as murder, but as an excess of necessary self-defense. The rapist’s relationship with other male authorities guarantee impunity for lifelong terror against women. It is not only the case of the Khachaturian sisters that can be cited as an example. Any attempt by women to resist, let alone try to claim the rights to their own body, provokes strong public condemnation.
Meanwhile, news of femicid is constantly interspersed with news that another woman has been given a sentence for self-defence or for the murder of a domestic sadist who has been acting with impunity for decades (two Russian media conducted a study and found that 79% of female killers are in prison for self-defense).
On November 21, 2019, news emerged that “a criminal case was opened in Perm against a 15-year-old schoolgirl who killed her stepfather with a knife. Before that, the man beat the girl, her grandmother and her friend.” The Public Commission should monitor all self-defence cases and seek full acquittal of women who have chosen to defend themselves
During the year of our work, we saw a lot of photos and videos, and found a lot of information, which according to the laws can not be disclosed. Apparently the police trade information which shouldn’t happen.
What does the study prove?
- Femicide exists in Russia.
- Femicide levels in Russia are high.
- The policy of the Russian government is femicidal.
- We need a law on femicide and anti-femicidal public-monitoring commissions.
Solution for Russia: what could stop the femicide epidemic?
We suggest a comprehensive solution at the state and public level.
State anti-femicidal policy:
— law against femicide and its lifelong humane isolation and rehabilitation of machist rapists
— Government compensation to relatives of femicide victims who survived violence
— open registry of rapists
— the right to any self-defence for women, the release from prison of women convicted of self-defence; compensation and benefits to all innocent women – for state inaction, moral and physical damage and patriarchal ystity
— open government statistics of femicides, including in reports of international organizations
— memorial to the victims of femicide, place names and public spaces named after the victims of femicide
— participation in international programmes to end violence against women, including western-style police reform (British, Norwegian)
— state funding of women’s organizations, cuts in state funding of socially irresponsible patriarchal projects, global state program against dependencies, lifelong rehabilitation of dependents
— gender equality laws, quotas for women in all fields, economic liberation of women
— Ministry of Gender Equality and the State Feminist Programme
— educational campaign against machison violence in educational institutions, state institutions, festivals, bars, hotels, streets.
— network of crisis centres for victims of gender-based violence
— no more managed feminism, no militaristic, femicidal and patriotic events, no fake pro-government “feminist” festivals and a substitution of the international women’s agenda to preserve the status quo
— Feminist Urbanism
Public anti-femicidal policy:
— constant pressure on the government and demand of the state anti-femicide policy
— local anti femicide groups in towns and regions
— constant public monitoring of police, courts, penitentiary institutions to isolate rapists
— educational campaign against machison violence in educational institutions, festivals and other public spaces
— antifemicidal journalism
— active participation of russian women in international feminist movement
This study based on statistics of 2019 was prepared by Katerina Bakhreenkov and Lubava Malysheva for the project of the Moscow Women’s Museum femicid.net. We thank everyone who contributed to the appearance of this text. If someone wants to challenge our figures – show us the real statistics, we will immediately calculate the more accurate ratios of the Russian femicide.
The study contains facts about real tragedies and is based on available materials. The errors are added by people on many levels such as creators of media news about murders, investigators and judges. The suspect is immediately recorded on the table as the killer, which might be an exaggeration. The case can be fabricated by the police (6.09.2019, Dagestan, when Musa Aliyeva was knocked out 9 teeth, forced to confess to the rape and murder of a woman from a nearby village). Statistics could change significantly after authorities release verdicts and new information on women’s killings in 2019. Our analysis of femicide news is only a discussion material, not an official source of information.