#MeToo comes to Russia

The Man

Former Staff
Jul 2011
Lets start at the beginning:

State Duma deputies Irina Guseva, Olga Timofeeva, and Leonid Slutsky at a session of parliament on September 27, 2017 Anton Novoderezhkin / TASS

On February 24, three women journalists, speaking anonymously, told the television station Dozhd they had been harassed by Leonid Slutsky, the chairman of the State Duma’s International Affairs Committee. Dozhd reporter Elizaveta Antonova later said Slutsky “is always coming on to young women journalists.” Three days later, Ekaterina Kotrikadze, RTVI’s deputy chief editor, said she too was harassed by Slutsky roughly seven years ago while she was working for a Georgian television station. Dozhd journalist Darya Zhuk later formally accused Slutsky of trying to kiss and grope her in 2014, filing charges with the Duma’s Ethic Committee. Slutsky denies all the allegations, and many of his fellow lawmakers have rejected or even belittled the journalists’ claims. Meduza spoke to Anna Rivina, a legal sciences scholar and the head of the Nasiliyu.net (No to Violence) project, to learn whether it’s possible in Russia to prove sexual harassment, and what repercussions Leonid Slutsky might face.

It's impossible to file a “harassment” lawsuit in Russia — there's no criminal code against harassment

There's no article concerning harassment in either Russia’s Criminal Code or its Code of Administrative Offenses. Back in 2014, some lawmakers tried to pass such legislation (imposing fines as high as 50,000 rubles, or $880), but the bill didn’t win the support of its State Duma oversight committee.

On February 27, 2018, Oksana Pushkina, the deputy head of the Duma’s Family Affairs Committee, promised to include a provision on penalties for sexual harassment in a bill on equal rights for men and women.

Russia’s Criminal Code does contain Article 133, which prohibits coercive actions of a sexual nature. This criminal code applies to cases where someone is forced to commit sexual acts (including having sex) by means of blackmail, threats, or other manipulations of their dependent status. It can be applied if the fact of coercive behavior has been established, irrespective of the result of that behavior. In other words, it doesn't matter whether or not the victim agreed to commit these actions.

In theory, the women who say they were harassed by Slutsky could sue under Article 133, since he had certain authority over them as the chairman of a State Duma committee. Unfortunately for the journalists, the absence of precedent law in Russia and the lack of any established practice in this area means they could only try to use Article 133, and there’s no guarantee how a court would rule.

Both Russian human rights activists and deputy Oksana Pushkina argue that Article 133 doesn’t work in practice.
Much more: Several Russian journalists say a federal lawmaker sexually harassed them. What's their legal recourse?

Leonid Slutsky, the MP who has been accused of harassment, at a meeting of the young diplomats council in Moscow this month Credit: Alexander Shcherbak/TASS via Getty

A female journalist has accused a top Russian politician of sexual harassment in the first such major scandal in Russia, where the 'MeToo' movement has largely attracted derision and domestic abuse was decriminalised last year.

Yekaterina Kotrikadze, deputy editor of RTVI, a Russian-language television channel based in New York, said Leonid Slutsky, now chairman of the foreign affairs committee, locked her in his office and began touching and trying to kiss her at a meeting in 2011. Three other journalists previously accused him of sexual harassment anonymously in an article carried by TV Rain.

Although Ms Kotrikadze, who was then working for a Georgian station, fended off Mr Slutsky's advances and left, she said, she felt too intimidated to tell anyone about the incident. She said other journalists undergo similar harassment.

“We always understand that there's no point to talk about this, you will only attract a huge amount of different insults and accusations of lying and political motives,” she said. “This happens, and no one is fighting it. It's very scary.”

A representative of Mr Slutsky declined to comment when reached by The Telegraph. But he has dismissed the previous allegations and even joked about them on Facebook when another MP wrote he should “share” women with his fellow lawmakers.

“Slow down colleagues! Where am I going to find so many journalist girls for you?” he responded.

Ksenia Sobchak, a liberal television personality who is running in March's presidential election, said on Tuesday she had filed a complaint calling for an ethics investigation of Mr Slutsky.

MP Oksana Pushkina said she would add sexual harassment punishments to a long-dormant equal rights bill, while parliamentary pool journalists reportedly asked the speaker of parliament to address Mr Slutsky's behaviour.

But several other MPs have argued against taking action and even suggested TV Rain journalists should be stripped of their accreditation to parliament.

“We're not in America and we're not in Europe. Why should we copy everything?” said MP Tamara Pletneva, head of the family, women and children's affairs committee. “If a woman doesn't want it, no one will push himself on her.”

Several Russian actresses and directors have voiced skepticism of the Harvey Weinstein scandal and the #MeToo movement against sexual harassment. In November, five naked women staged a rally in support of Weinstein outside the US embassy in Moscow, holding signs declaring that “Harvey is a real man”.

Russia has increasingly turned toward traditional values in the current term of Vladimir Putin, who is all but sure to be re-elected in March. Gay propaganda was outlawed in 2013, and last February he signed amendments decriminalising domestic abuse.

On Wednesday, presidential candidate Vladimir Zhirinovsky, the head of Mr Slutsky's nationalist LDPR party, called Ms Sobchak a “whore” during an argument at a television debate in which she poured water on him.
Journalist accuses politician of sexual harassment as MeToo movement hits Russia

Presidential candidate and journalist Ksenia Sobchak has called for an investigation into sexual harassment allegations against Leonid Slutsky, chairman of the State Duma’s International Relations Committee.

In a statement posted on her campaign website on February 27, Sobchak said that if the allegations are true, "such actions by a deputy would be a direct violation of" the law on the status of members of the Federation Council and the State Duma.

Slutsky, who is a member of Vladimir Zhirinovsky's nationalist Liberal Democratic Party of Russia (LDPR), has denied the allegations, which were made by at least three female journalists who cover the Duma.

TASS reported on February 27 that the Duma's Ethics Committee had not received Sobchak's complaint.

In response to the allegations, deputy Duma speaker Igor Lebedev, also from the LDPR, proposed revoking the Duma accreditations of Dozhd journalists.

On February 22, Zhirinovsky appeared on independent TV Dozhd and journalist Yelizaveta Antonova, who covers the Duma, asked him if he was aware that Slutsky "constantly harasses young female journalists." Zhirinovsky said he would look into it. The following day, two additional journalists, speaking on condition of anonymity, told Dozhd they had been harassed by Slutsky.

A Dozhd producer claimed Slutsky had tried to kiss and grope her before an on-air appearance.

Slutsky on February 23 told the newspaper Vedomosti that the accusations were "an election-campaign provocation."

Duma Deputy Oksana Pushkina said the scandal around Slutsky had prompted her to introduce amendments to a draft law on gender equality that would criminalize sexual harassment.

"If there are facts," she told Kommersant about the Slutsky case, "then the matter should be carried to its conclusion. This [behavior] is flourishing in our society."

In recent months, a vigorous campaign against sexual harassment and sexual assault in the United States has led to accusations against numerous high-profile men including movie producer Harvey Weinstein, actor Kevin Spacey, and comedian Louis C.K.

In Russia, however, the campaign has been generally mocked, and a small demonstration in support of Weinstein was held in front of the U.S. Embassy in November 2017.

"Thank God we live in a country where political correctness hasn't reached the absurd," Russian filmmaker Andrei Konchalovsky told Izvestia in November. "When you can't call a man a man, a woman a woman, and you have to call them a person."

In April 2014, Zhirinovsky was censored and apologized for an outburst in which he ordered his aides to rape a pregnant reporter.

He later claimed he had been on medication at the time.
Sobchak Calls For Sexual-Harassment Probe Against Senior Duma Deputy

A fourth journalist in Russia has stepped forward to accuse State Duma deputy Leonid Slutsky of sexual harassment in a rare public outing reminiscent of the global #MeToo movement.

Slutsky threatened to sue an independent Russian outlet after it cited at least three anonymous female correspondents who accused him of sexual harassment in the Duma.

Yekaterina Kotrikadze, the deputy editor-in-chief of the international Russian-language channel RTVI, became the first journalist to openly accuse Slutsky in a live broadcast on Tuesday.

Kotrikadze said that the lawmaker had locked her inside his office before attempting to touch and kiss her prior to an interview in 2011.

“I broke loose and ran away,” she said, adding that she kept silent after the incident for fear of repercussions.

Kotrikadze alleged that sexual harassment toward female journalists is widespread across various government institutions in Russia, but noted that victims “never speak of it out loud.”

“We understand there’s no point in this, you only risk incurring insults and accusations of lying,” the deputy editor said.

RTVI editor-in-chief and general producer Alexei Pivovarov expressed support for Kotrikadze and called on Slutsky’s other accusers to come forward publicly.

Following the accusations, Slutsky’s Duma colleague Oksana Pushkina pledged on Tuesday to introduce a bill criminalizing sexual harassment that has been stuck in committee since 2003.

Another Duma deputy said that he backed administrative punishment for harassment “if it worries Russian women.”

“[But] criminal liability is probably too steep a punishment,” Deputy Mikhail Yemelyanov told the state-run RIA Novosti news agency on Tuesday.

Tamara Pletnyova, the head of the Duma Family, Women and Children Committee, disputed the need for sexual harassment legislation.

“We’re not in America or Europe. Why do we have to copy everything? A woman, if she doesn’t want to, won’t be harassed,” she told the Gazeta.ru news website on Tuesday.
Fourth Journalist Accuses Russian Deputy Slutsky of Sexual Harassment

Yekaterina Kotrikadze

Oksana Pushkina Anton Novoderzhkin / TASS

A Russian lawmaker has promised to take up a 15-year-old bill criminalizing sexual harassment after one of her colleagues was accused of inappropriate behavior towards female journalists.

At least three correspondents last week accused State Duma deputy Leonid Slutsky of sexual harassment. The lawmaker denies the claims and has threatened to sue the outlet that reported the allegations.

In an interview with the RBC business portal Tuesday, Slutsky’s colleague Oksana Pushkina pledged to reintroduce a bill on gender equality “where everything, including the issue of harassment, will be clearly spelled out.”

The bill has been stuck in committee after first being introduced in 2003.

Pushkina lamented the legal gap in Russia’s Criminal Code that does not define sexual harassment and does not incorporate sexist misconduct at the workplace.

“There is no regulation of accountability for sexual harassment [at work],” she was cited as saying.

“In cases of sexual harassment, women most often remain silent, or, at best, quit their jobs,” Pushkina told RBC in the interview.

If passed, the decade-and-a-half-old draft bill would hold public officials criminally liable for violating the equal rights of men and women.
Russian Deputy Vows to Criminalize Sexual Harassment After Duma Scandal

Deputy Speaker of the State Duma Igor Lebedev has called for several female journalists to be barred after they accused a fellow party member of sexual harassment.

Three female journalists told Dozhd TV on the condition of anonymity that State Duma deputy Leonid Slutsky, a member of the Liberal Democratic Party (LDPR), had made inappropriate remarks and touched them while in the Duma.

“He placed his palm on my inner thigh and slid his hand upwards,” one of the journalists was cited as saying. “We are no longer in contact, and I avoid him.”

Igor Lebedev, the son of the LDPR’s long-time leader Vladimir Zhirinovsky, on Twitter accused the journalists of unethical behavior and said his party would seek to have their accreditation revoked.

Slutsky’s behaviour was common knowledge among the deputies, according to the journalists accusing him. One journalist was cited as saying she feared losing access to the Duma if she complained.

Slutsky, who also serves as Head of the Duma’s committee on foreign affairs, denied the accusations and took a stab at Dozhd.

“When your work can’t be faulted, provocations like this appear,” he told the RBC business portal. “This is common practice for Dozhd.”

Zhirinovsky, the LDPR’s leader, told Dozhd in a broadcast that Slutsky might have been “trying to attract the journalists’ attention.”

Zhirinovsky himself made headlines after he called on his aides to “rape” a pregnant journalist during a press conference in April 2014 when she asked whether Russia should retaliate against the travel restrictions placed on Russian men by Ukraine.
Russian Lawmaker Wants Female Journalists Barred From State Duma After Sexual Harassment Complaints

A Russian lawmaker accused of sexual harassment has maintained his innocence and hinted at a foreign plot to smear him.

At least four female reporters accused State Duma deputy Leonid Slutsky in the past week of having made inappropriate sexual advances against them. The latest, the deputy editor of the international Russian-language news network RTVI Yekaterina Kotrikadze, is so far the only journalist to have publicly revealed her name.

“We should just proceed from [the fact] that this hit job has been extinguished and that it’s over,” the Vedomosti business daily cited Slutsky as telling reporters on Thursday.

Asked if he would be ready to take a lie detector test to prove his innocence, the lawmaker only commented on the test’s “high margin of error."

The lawmaker noted Kotrikadze’s Georgian nationality, saying that journalists from her country were capable of accusations that were “much greater” than sexual harassment.

“It’s surprising that there were no Ukrainian or American women journalists,” Slutsky added.
Pavel Gusev, who heads the Moscow Union of Journalists, blew off Kotrikadze’s allegations of sexual harassment against the Duma deputy as “belated” and “unprovable” earlier on Thursday.
Accused Russia Deputy Calls Sexual Harassment Allegations a 'Hit Job'

The head of Moscow’s journalism union has dismissed the latest sexual harassments allegations in Russia as “belated” after four women accused a lawmaker of inappropriate advances late last month.

Yekaterina Kotrikadze, the deputy editor-in-chief of the international Russian-language RTVI channel, openly accused State Duma deputy Leonid Slutsky of attempting to forcibly touch and kiss her in his office in 2011. She came forward a week after three other female correspondents accused him of sexual harassment.

“I look at all this with surprise, irony and a bit of laughter,” Pavel Gusev, who heads the Moscow Union of Journalists, told RTVI on Thursday.

“It’s surprising that seven years later, someone says that some man touched them, and I should believe that. Why?” he asked.

Challenging Kotrikadze’s story as “unprovable,” Gusev suggested he would have accused the journalist herself of sexual harassment in the lawmaker’s place.

“Had I been Slutsky, I would have said ‘she was wearing black panties and some bra that day’,” he said, drawing criticism from the host for failing to come to his colleague’s defense.

Gusev nonetheless stressed that he was “very serious when it comes to journalists who were actually oppressed” and always came to their defense “when there was a reason to defend them.”

Meanwhile, Komsomolskaya Pravda newspaper correspondent Yelena Krivyakina added to the sexual harassment allegations against state officials. In a column published on Wednesday, Krivyakina reported an incident in which an unnamed Duma deputy and a senior Energy Ministry official warned her to “stay silent” while making inappropriate advances against her.

“I kept my mouth shut for 20 years. And I would have remained silent if not for this story with Slutsky,” Krivyakina wrote.
Russian Journalism Union Head Blows Off Sexual Harassment Scandal

What a fucking mess...

I am glad to see Pushkina take this up, at least. She used to be a famous TV personality, had her own talk show, years ago. So, naturally, some dismiss this as just a washed up celebrity trying to get back into the limelight.

But, either way, I hope she accomplishes something here. Not optimistic though...

The Man

Former Staff
Jul 2011
It continues.

Now, Farida Rustamova, a correspondent with the Russian service of BBC

clains Slutsky crudely flirted with her at his office at the Duma, demanding she become his lover; and then rubbed his hand between her legs.

And Anastasia Karimova, a former reporter for Kommersant, a respected Russian newspaper

talked about two drunk Duna members pawing her and another female journalist in a car during a trip to North Ossetia to observe elections there; and another friend, also a reporter, being quite literally 'raped' by a Duma man in a hotel room also during a trip to a remote region.

And in general, she described the awful environment for young female journalists who work in the Duma, the nasty old men who grab you, including in the private parts, kiss you on the lips without any permission, etc. Especially behind closed doors of their offices. This Slutsky, in other words, being not some aberration, but a normal product of this whole culture... And these girls have no recourse against this behavior...

And this is supposed to be a fucking national parliament! :mad:

The Man

Former Staff
Jul 2011
The speaker of the Russian State Duma, Vyacheslav Volodin, has told female journalists who report from the legislature to change their jobs if they face sexual harassment from lawmakers.

Volodin made the remarks to a group of female journalists on March 7, the eve of International Women's Day, which is a Russian state holiday.

Volodin said recent sexual harassment accusations made by female journalists against senior lawmaker Leonid Slutsky were "attempts to discredit" Slutsky.

"Is it dangerous for you to work in the Duma? If so, then change your jobs," Volodin said.

Volodin is a close ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin and previously served as the deputy chief of Putin's presidential office.

Volodin's remarks came a day after a BBC journalist accused Slutsky of sexual harassment.

Farida Rustamova, from the BBC's Russian Service, is the third journalist to publicly accuse Slutsky of improper behavior.

Rustamova recorded audio of the incident, which took place a year ago. The BBC says it is in possession of the recording, but has decided not to publish it.
More: Duma Speaker To Female Journalists: 'Change Jobs' To Avoid Harassment


The Man

Former Staff
Jul 2011
A Russian lawmaker in charge of women’s issues has criticized several female journalists who have accused a senior State Duma deputy of sexual harassment.

A fifth journalist this week came out with allegations that State Duma deputy Leonid Slutsky had made inappropriate comments and gestures. The unprecedented accusations against a senior lawmaker have caused a storm online and in the media, but have widely been dismissed by public figures.

Earlier, Vyacheslav Volodin, the Speaker of the State Duma, recommended that female reporters change jobs if they feel threatened by men in the lower house of Russian parliament.

Tamara Pletneva, head of the committee on family, women, and children told the Ekho Moskvy radio station on Wednesday that she had known Slutsky for a long time and that he was a “well spoken, intellectual man with a warm attitude to women.”

“Maybe he might have been joking a little bit,” she said. “But I’ll never believe he offended a woman.”

Instead, she pointed a finger at the journalists, saying they should dress “more adequately.”

“This is a government institution, not a place to walk around with exposed belly buttons,” she added.

Guidelines issued by the State Duma to accredited journalists proposes they wear “formal clothing,” while in the building.
Head of Duma Women's Committee Says Slutsky Was Probably Joking

Photo from article, Tamara Pletneva at the Duma, with Communist Party leader Gennady Zyuganov

She is a Commie herself, I do believe.

You know, yes, couple years ago, an official dress code for journalists working at the Duma was indeed introduced: https://www.znak.com/amp/45468

Although, I must say, I can't imagine that, even before this, there were reporters, of either gender, walking around that building in shirts, torn jeans, or "unreasonably short" skirts lol All of which are banned in the new dress code. Perhaps some of the younger females might show off their legs occasionally, knowing it would win them favor, and scoops, with the old lechers in there :D

But, torn jeans???

Or open belly buttons???

What, are they inviting people from high-school newspapers now??? haha

Regardless, none of this is an excuse for sexual harassment, Jesus...

And this woman is supposed to head the committee that looks after her bloody gender...
May 2012
By the wall
Its a boring subject now honestly.

Nobody really cares anymore, we've become immune to it.

The Man

Former Staff
Jul 2011
A senior Russian lawmaker has suggested that possible legislation against sexual harassment would be unnecessary and could turn Russian women into overly sensitive Europeans.

At least five women journalists have stepped up to accused State Duma deputy Leonid Slutsky of sexual harassment in the past month, sparking a nationwide debate about the necessity for legislation to address the problem.

Tamara Pletneva, the head of the State Duma’s committee on family, women and children, told the Govorit Moska radio station on Friday that legislation against sexual harassment would be “absolutely excessive.”

“If we sign something like that into law, we will start looking like European women, who can’t be touched at all and see everything as harassment, while maybe [secretly] dreaming about it,” Pletneva said.

“Only those who probably want it themselves and who provoke get harassed,” she added.

In response to the allegations against Slutsky last week, Pletneva suggested that female journalists should “dress more appropriately in a government institution instead of walking around with bare belly buttons.”
Russian Lawmaker Says Sexual Harassment Legislation Would Be 'Excessive'