Staunton, February 9 – In many countries, feminist movements have succeeded to the point that they are generating a male backlash, with some men organizing to oppose what they see as excessive concessions to women that threaten their way of life and that of society as a whole. Such a backlash is now taking place in the Russian Federation, Andrey Ivanov says.
“The overwhelming majority of activists of ‘the men’s movement,’” the Svobodnaya pressa commentator says, “deny any hatred of women. They speak exclusively about equal rights under the law, and they say they are for a strong family where mothers and fathers share equally responsibility for raising children” (svpressa.ru/society/article/256722/).
The Russian “men’s movement” took off several years ago, and like many such efforts, it began on Youtube and other Internet channels, Ivanov continues. To date, few traditional politicians have taken notice, but in the wake of a meeting this week in Moscow, that may soon change, the commentator says.
Among the demands of this movement are equalizing male and female retirement ages, given that men live “almost 15 years less” than women but women are allowed to retire earlier, equalize punishment for crimes (there are no strict regime camps or life imprisonment for women), an end to the draft which affects only men, and doing away with alimony.
Many men say that women exploit alimony awards, and at present, some 800,000 of them are not paying, putting them at risk of criminal sanctions. “The representatives of ‘the men’s movement’ say that this contains within itself almost the threat of a new GULAG” directed against men alone.
The men say they want to defend the family and appeal to the state on that basis, arguing that if current trends hold, the Russian family will disintegrate and children will be raised in situations where they will be less likely to emerge as good citizens, the Svobodnaya pressa writer continues.
Yesterday, the Russian men’s movement took an important step in moving from an Internet phenomenon, albeit one that has attracted tens of thousands of followers, toward a political movement. The “Fathers of the Country” organization convened a session of approximately 150 men to discuss the demands they want to advance.
That may seem small, even insignificant. But it is an important development nonetheless, one increasingly typical of various groups in Russia. “Many feel that things are going in the wrong direction,” Ivanov says; and they see that “traditional political life” isn’t delivering. As a result, they are organizing new groups like this one to press their case.
The men’s movement is hardly alone in this. The question now is, Ivanov says, whether the powers that be will recognize what is going on in society. One thing is certain, however, if they continue to ignore such groups, that may cost those now in positions of authority dearly.