Saturday, November 3, 2018

‘Babovshchina’ in Russian Police Worse than ‘Dedovshchina’ in Army, Fedotova Says

Paul Goble

            Staunton, November 2 – Harassment and sexual exploitation of women in the Russian police, known informally as babovshchina, is more widespread and far more harmful than the more familiar mistreatment of recent draftees in the army by their seniors, a phenomenon known since Soviet times as dedovshchina, Viktoria Fedotova says.

            In a Vzglyad commentary, the Russian journalist says that she is anything but surprised by the reports of rape within the police force in Ufa because of what she knows on the basis of her own experience and that of her family and friends who have served in the police (

            Her mother, who worked as a police sergeant, told her, Fedotova says, that “dedovshchina in the army is nothing in comparison with babovshchina” in the police. In both cases, powerful men control the lives of their subordinates, but in the police, this control involves demands for sex as well as other kinds of harassment.

            There are almost no women, no longer how they have served in the police, above the rank of sergeant, the Moscow journalist continues, and those above them assume they have the right to make the most outrageous of demands simply because of their position and because those below them have no way out.

            Most of the time this is all covered up, but increasingly women are speaking out. Whether they will have more success than their male counterparts in the military is very much open to doubt. Campaigns against dedovshchina have been a regular feature of Russian life for decades; but it continues.

            One can only hope that babovshchina become the object of even more attention and effort and is wiped out more thoroughly that non-standard behavior in the Russian armed services has been. 

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