Verstka: Patriarch Kirill and Metropolitan Tikhon block Russia’s domestic violence bill

Patriarch Kirill and Metropolitan of Pskov and Porkhov Tikhon (Shevkunov), also known as the personal confessor of Russian President Vladimir Putin, have blocked the work on the domestic violence prevention bill, reports Russian outlet Verstka, citing its sources.

In 2019, there was a draft bill on prevention of “family and domestic violence”. Among the people who came out in support of the bill, there was Valentina Matviyenko, Chairwoman of the Federation Council (the upper house of the Russian Parliament). The Council published the text of the bill for a public discussion of its contents, however, the bill has never made it to the State Duma (the lower house of the Russian Parliament).

Verstka claims that the work on the bill was suspended due to the Russian Orthodox Church’s interference. The representatives of the Church came out against the bill several times. At the same time, Patriarch Kirill and Metropolitan of Pskov and Porkhov Tikhon personally asked Putin to not approve the law.

“The patriarch personally asked [for the bill to be stopped], Matviyenko herself eventually suspended all the work on the bill”, reports the outlet, citing a Federation Council source.

According to Verstka, it was the Church’s position that led to the Kremlin insisting on the bill being shared with the public without its authors' approval and before changes could be made to the text.

Nikolay Metrokhin, a historian and the Russian Orthodox Church researcher, says that the negative reaction from the Church is due to the fact that it is “led by people who came from, usually, traditional families, where domestic violence could have taken place”.

“[The Church] understands that if there is stricter control, then not just individual priests will go to jail, but at least dozens of them. And I’m not even mentioning the parishioners,” he told Verstka.

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“The work on the bill on prevention of family and domestic violence has finished. Valentina Matviyenko is in possession of the bill, it’s in the Federation Council’s [hands],” Oksana Pushkina, ex-State Duma deputy who worked on the bill, told Verstka in August 2022.

At the same time, other interlocutors of the outlet say that there are “no indications” that the bill will be back on the agenda.

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