Authorities have refused to approve a rally in downtown Moscow in support of three teenage sisters accused of murdering their abusive father, charges that have sparked calls to address Russia’s domestic abuse problem.
They offered to approve a protest in the city outskirts, but activists said protesters on Saturday will instead stand in line near the Kremlin to conduct single-person pickets, which can be held without permission.
“We are also suggesting people hold pickets near their own flat blocks, because domestic violence is happening in in these flat blocks, and so abusers … won’t feel they can act with such impunity,” said organiser Darya Serenko.
They will try to hold a full protest later this month.
After 57-year-old Mikhail Khachaturyan was maced, hit with a hammer and stabbed 36 times by his three teenage daughters at home in Moscow’s northern outskirts last July, investigators hit the girls with the toughest murder charges on the books. They face up to 20 years in prison.
But behind closed doors, the prominent local businessman and churchgoer had insulted, humiliated, threatened and “subjected his daughters to physical and sexual violence,” according to state commission findings reported by Russian media.
The lurid case has since prompted calls for reform in Russia, where female victims find little sympathy amid Vladimir Putin’s rhetoric on defending traditional values.