What do we know about the challenges of living in Russia?
Women's Rights in Russia
As of February 2017, Russia decriminalized domestic violence. If a family member, including a spouse, commits a first-time offense of non-severe physical harm that doesn't lead to hospitalisation, they are no longer subject to a two-year prison term. Such cases are now treated as administrative offenses, reclassifying what were once criminal offenses as "family matters."
12,000 women are killed a year in Russia as a result of domestic violence.
In Russia, nearly 16.5 million women, constituting 21% of the female population (78.57 million), endure domestic violence annually. This contrasts sharply with the UK, where 5% (1.6 million women out of 33.75 million) face abuse.
One in four families in Russia has encountered various forms of violence. Two-thirds of homicides stem from family members, placing Russia among countries with high rates, such as Iran, Yemen, and Liberia.
Family-related incidents account for up to 40% of all serious violent crimes. Shockingly, approximately one woman in Russia succumbs to domestic violence every 40 minutes, making the risk 50 times higher than in the UK, where about two women are killed weekly.
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; 20.9% of Russians are alcohol dependent compared to 8.7% in the UK.
However, there has also been a recent shift toward illicit drugs. It is very challenging to find recent data on levels of drug dependency in Russia. However, some sources suggest that it's around 5% of the population.
Most of the Russian healthcare system is ill equipped to respond to addictions. Many treatment centres still use out-dated 'cold turkey' approaches rather than evidence based modern approaches.
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 2020, 514,869 children were formally placed into care in Russia. This is 1.67% of children under 17 years old, compared to 0.65% in England.
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.
Available data on Russian orphanage leavers shows that 10% commit suicide, 40% go to prison, 40% become alcoholics and drug addicts.
Poverty (Updated 10/1/24)
The monthly minimum wage in Russia as of Jan 1, 2024 amounts to 19,242 Russian rubles (£169*). Pensions/benefits can be even less (Those we support typically report receiving around 8,000 RUB per month/£69*).
To put that into perspective; utilities amount to around £64pcm* and rent in a city like Ryazan (where we work) is around £176pcm* 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.
For children under 18 months, parents receive around 7,000 RUB a month in child benefits (£60*).
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 = 116.5 RUB (correct as of 5th Dec 2023). Values in GBP are rounded up or down to the nearest pound.