Sunday, April 9, 2023

Russia’s Feminists Fighting Moscow’s Drive for Re-Traditionalization Across the Board

Paul Goble

            Staunton, Apr. 5 – The role of women in the anti-war movement in Russia has attracted widespread attention ( Less attention has been devoted to other feminist causes even though they have in some cases had more success.

            Yuliya Ostrovskaya, a lawyer for the NGO Center for Social and Labor Rights, describes both the successes and failures of feminist efforts in recent years, successes that will help many Russian women and Russian society at large and failures that point to where the next round of battles will likely take place (

            Among the areas Ostrovskaya points to:

·       Russian women through court action and demonstrations have reduced the number of professions from which women are banned for 456 to 100 over the last five years.

·       Russian women have succeeded in organizing more than 150 centers to help women who are victims of harassment or violence, even though Putin has signed a law decriminalizing family violence (

·       Through court actions, Russian women have ensured that women are paid the compensation they deserve by employers, radically improving the situation in the workplace.

·       Russian women have expanded monitoring of the condition of women in penal institutions and improved conditions for them in camps and prisons.

·       Russian women have resisted the push by the Russian Orthodox Church and other religious groups to eliminate the right to abortion, slowing if not yet stopping that drive.       


            One measure of how successful Russian feminists have been is a new call by Duma deputy Oleg Matveychev to classify feminism as “an extremist ideology” because in his words it is encouraging Russian women to take actions aimed at “destroying traditional values and against the demographic policy of the Russian Federation” (

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