What do we know about the challenges of living in Russia?
Domestic violence was decriminalised in February 2017 in Russia. If your spouse (or any family member) beat you, but not severely enough to hospitalise you, and it’s their first offence, they will no longer go to prison for two years. It is considered a 'family matter', transferring what were previously criminal offenses to administrative offenses.
They may now receive a fine of around £300* or up to 15 days in prison.
12,000 women killed a year as a result of domestic violence.
According to activists, nearly 16.5 million women in Russia suffer domestic violence every year. This is 21% of women (population of 78.57 million women). This compares to 5% in the UK (1.6 million women abused out of population of 33.75 million women).
Every fourth family in the country has experienced violence of different forms.
Two-thirds of homicides are caused by family members. This is one of the highest proportions in the world (placing Russia among countries like Iran, Yemen and Liberia).
Up to 40% of all serious violent crimes are committed within families.
Approximately one woman is killed due to domestic violence in Russia every 40 minutes. This compares to about two women a week being killed by domestic violence in the UK. As a woman in Russia you are 50 times more likely to be killed than in the UK.
There are around 50 shelters in Russia offering women refuge from domestic violence (serving population of 16.5 million domestic violence victims) compared to 261 refuges in the UK (serving population of 1.6 million domestic violence victims).
Video on domestic violence situation in Russia: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rUVoIODBEz8&t=10s
Drug and Alcohol Addiction
Alcoholism has long been a problem in Russia; however, there has recently shifted toward illicit drugs. Some researchers estimate that there are 4 million to 6 million regular users, and among young Russians, drug use is up to 40 percent. The healthcare system appears to be completely unprepared to intervene and there aren't enough tools to even collect reliable data on the true scale of the problem.
Russia has 448,100 regular drug users and addicts (according to official statistics). However, health authorities admit that this data should be multiplied by 10 in order to approximate real figures.
Due to the pandemic, in 2020 there was a large spike in alcohol related deaths. 50,400 people died from alcohol-related causes in Russia, about 6.3 percent more than in 2019.
Proportionally 3 times more people in Russia die by suicide each year in Russia than in the UK. 25.1 people commit suicide per 100,000 people each year in Russia. This compares to 7.9 people each year in the UK. Quite a shocking difference.
Russia is among the worst affected 10 countries in the world when it comes to suicide and this reflects on substantial mental health issues faced by large numbers of the Russian population and also connects to social issues such as poverty, addictions and homelessness.
Large numbers of Russian children are still living in orphanages. In 2021 the number of Russian children living in orphanages decreased by nearly 30%. As of the beginning of the year, there are in total 406,138 orphans living in orphan homes.
All have experienced ACEs (such as domestic abuse within the family, addicted parents, poverty and homelessness). This, combined with the experience of separation/abandonment result in lives affected for the long term.
Find out more about adverse childhood experiences here.
The monthly minimum wage in Russia as of June 1, 2022 amounted to 15,278 Russian rubles (£216.68*). Pensions/benefits can be even less (typically around 8,000 RUB per month/£113.46*).
To put that into perspective; utilities amount to around £77pcm* and rent in a city like Ryazan (where we work) is around £196 - £284pcm* for a one bedroomed apartment. So, unless you are a multiple income household, even these costs could not even be covered. Food, clothing and medicine cost only marginally less than here in the UK. Travel is cheaper.
If using subjective poverty line, almost 40% of Russians live under poverty line.
The average social pension is around 9,000 RUB a month (£128*) for those in low income households.
There are around 5 million Russians who are homeless.
Impact of Sanctions
Domestic violence is likely to surge in Russia as it is well documented that during times of conflict intimate partner violence increases and autonomy of women within households decreases.
Other Facts and Statistics
Coercive control in leadership - This article argues that the leadership of RU displays signs of typical coercive control, leaving the rest of the world like an anxious neighbour, worried but too scared to get involved.
*Exchange rates used on this page are 1 GBP = 70.51 RUB (correct as of 28th Aug 2022)