Here's the real story -- Russians want less state (and theirs often isn't the greatest) in their families
The Russians have really gone and done it this time. Having packed off gays to furnaces they've now gone and legalized some forms of wife beating.
What else did you expect from that chest-bare horse-riding chauvinist of theirs?
Associated Press: Russia set to move closer to decriminalize domestic violence
Radio Free Europe: Russian Bill Decriminalizing Domestic Violence Advances In Duma
Now this is really bad! How can Russians lawmakers possibly justify this?
Well it turns out that last July Russia passed a tough law against domestic violence. A law so tough that it sparked a civil initiative against it. A conservative, pro-family group the All-Russia Parents Resistance gathered over 200,000 signatures to challenge the law.
The civil society activists protested that the law actually envisioned harsher penalties for domestic violence than for comparable violence against strangers. So that a stranger assaulting a child would be dealt with less severely than a parent disciplining their son or daughter
Also did it really make sense for the state to get involved so forcefully so early on, as to immediately break up the family by imprisoning the first-time abuser within the family?
Eventually they prevailed and legislators passed an amendment original legislation to bring penalties in a domestic setting in line with penalties for similar offenses against strangers.
You may agree with that or not, but whatever you think that certainly is not the same as "decriminalising some forms of domestic violence".
An abuser who inflict serious bodily harm will still face criminal charges. Even a repeat offender who does not inflict serious harm may be put away for three months.
A first time offender who does not inflict serious harm (and would previously have faced long term imprisonment) will face community service or a fine, albeit he can also be put away for up to fifteen days:
In cases of repeated assaults, a defendant will face a fine of up to 40,000 rubles ($676), compulsory community service for up to six months or an arrest for up to three months. This concerns assaults that inflict physical pain but do not cause serious bodily injury. If there is any threat to the person’s health, the attacker will face criminal charges.
The administrative offence for first-time physical assaults envisages a fine of up to 30,000 rubles ($507), an arrest up to 15 days or compulsory community service up to 120 hours.
As said this was a grassroots initiative, a public insurgency. Whether it makes sense to you or not many Russians want less of their state, police and courts in their families:
On Tuesday, the speaker told reporters that public opinion polls showed that 59% of respondents came out against tough punishment for minor conflicts in the family that did not result in any serious bodily harm, or impairment.
Meanwhile, [MP] Batalina stressed that most Russians condemn domestic violence but support the initiative of easing penalties for first-time assaults, according to the All-Rusian Public Opinion Research Center. "Moreover, a significant number of the respondents say that the measure will lead to reducing the number of assaults in the family."