Disclaimer: The views expressed within this article are entirely the author’s own and are not attributable to Wessex Scene as a whole.
Russian sisters Krestina, Angelina and Maria Khachaturyan are facing up to 20 years in prison after killing their father last July. The girls have been held in house arrest since the attack, waiting to find out what their charges were. The girls attacked the man in his sleep after years of domestic and sexual abuse.
The abuse the girls faced at the hands of their father has been described as systematic and violent, with neighbours calling the Moscow police on multiple occasions to report his crimes. Yet, despite the reoccurring accusations, no criminal charges were brought against Mikhail Khachaturyan. The girls lived alone with their father after their mother claims she was forced to flee in 2015 because her husband threatened to kill her daughters if she did not leave. At their family home the girls were then repeatedly raped and beaten, causing them to now suffer from severe Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.
This all comes after Russia has been accused of lacking in support and protection for victims of domestic violence following a change in abuse laws. As of 2017, some forms of domestic violence have been decriminalised in Russia, making the maximum punishment for domestic abuse causing bleeding or bruising a fine equivalent to £380, as long as the offence isn’t repeated more than once yearly. The lack of action seen in the Kachaturyan case is not an isolated incident, as The European Court of Human Rights recently asserted that Russia failed to protect a victim of stalking, kidnapping and assault by a former partner.
After killing their father, the sisters (pictured above) phoned the police, initially stating that they had killed their father in defence during an attack. While the court later found this to be untrue, the act was still undoubtedly self-defence, as the girls would have put their own physical and psychological health and safety at risk by staying in the house. Krestina, Angelina and Maria stated that they’d considered running away, but worried that, if found, the consequences would be deadly.
I am in no way, shape, or form saying that murder is ever justified, but how these girls can be charged with murder is beyond me. After the Russian authorities failed to protect these girls on multiple occasions, it is not surprising that they saw no other form of escape from the living hell they were stuck in. Of course they cannot go without facing some sort of consequences for their actions, but if anything they should be put in a psychotherapeutic institution where they can be rehabilitated. They need to own up to what they did, but they also need to get help and treatment for what was done to them.
I’m not alone in thinking this, and over 350 people gathered in Moscow on the 19th of June to protest the murder charges. However, also present were counter protesters, some of which being from a Russian group called Men’s State: a nationalist, male chauvinistic movement that believes men should dominate modern society. While I think it is a shame that people are out there capitalising on this tragedy for their own ideological gain, if anything, the presence of Men’s State show that this is an ongoing, wider issue, not just about domestic violence, but gender equality in Russia.