Opinion | The Witch Hunt Underway in Russia

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When Russia invades Ukraine in 2022 Feminist antiwar resistance It was quickly created and became one High resistance movements in the country. According to the organization, more than 100 human rights activists have been subjected to various forms of persecution. Among the most high-profile cases, the artist Alexandra Skochilenko was recently He was sentenced. A seven-year prison sentence for exchanging price tags at a St. Petersburg supermarket has statements highlighting civilian deaths in the conflict. Since then, other political and social women’s initiatives have gained momentum, including those of mothers worried about their children being sent to war.

This summer, the Russian Minister of Health Mikhail Murashko. They criticized. He announced a national initiative to control the distribution of “inappropriate” and abortifacient drugs in pharmacies by putting women ahead of their education and work before giving birth. At least two regions of Russia They have already made it illegal “Forcing” women to have abortions and in two other places, Crimea and Kursk, private clinics were almost stopped. Providing an abortion all in all. Women across the country were panic buying emergency contraceptive pills. Fears National ban.

Until now, the Russian government has bureaucratically opposed women’s groups by blocking efforts to change laws or issuing “black marks” such as foreign agent designations. But a month before Ms. Berkovich and Ms. Petrychuk were arrested, a Russian lawyer, Oleg Matveychev, He said he deserved it. He drafted a draft document that recognized feminism as an “extremist ideology.” The bill was not amended in the Duma.

Officially, the pair violated Russian laws on “public calls for terrorist activities, public advocacy of terrorism or terrorist propaganda,” a crime punishable by up to seven years in prison. The state’s case is based on a document by its authors, including historian Roman Silantev. He and his co-authors He wrote that the game contains “ideological symbols of ISIS” and “extremist feminist ideology”; The document was presented as evidence that the play supports terrorism.

Konstantin Dobrynin, a Russian lawyer based in Britain, said that under the law, radical feminism prosecutions could continue because “we are living in very dark times”. If this happens, it could lead to the criminalization of feminism as an ideology in Russia. He said it would be “literally a witch hunt and a Holy Inquisition.”

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