Dad's Killing Fuels Vicious Culture War

Mikhail Khachaturyan's murder is a hot topic in Russia
By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 12, 2020 12:30 PM CDT
Dad's Killing Fuels Vicious Culture War
In this photo taken on Wednesday, June 26, 2019, Angelina Khachaturyan attends hearings in a court room in Moscow, Russia.   (Alexander Avilov, Moscow News Agency photo via AP)

Bloody and hobbled, Mikhail Khachaturyan stumbled onto the landing of his Moscow apartment—where one of his teenage daughters stabbed him fatally in the heart. At least that's how prosecutors describe the final moments of a man whose murder has refocused attention on domestic violence and sparked a culture-war debate in Russia, the Guardian reports. Court documents say Khachaturyan, 57, regularly beat, humiliated, threatened, and sexually abused his three daughters, Krestina, Angelina, and Maria. Then on July 27, 2018, he allegedly pepper-sprayed each of them in the face, triggering a series of events that led the girls to spray him back, beat him with a hammer, and stab him to death. It was "the final straw," says Maria.

But not all Russians side with the girls, despite corroboration of domestic abuse from Khachaturyan's estranged wife. Prosecutors charged all three with premeditated murder, while some conservatives—including the powerful Russian Orthodox Church—are opposing the idea of beefing up Russia's limited domestic-violence laws. "It says nothing if a man has beaten his wife once," says an Orthodox activist. Then, in December, prosecutors stunned the nation by saying investigators should re-examine the case and consider self-defense as a motive, per the Moscow Times. Whatever happens, domestic abuse is out of the shadows: "That's the most noticeable change," says Angelina's lawyer. "People have begun talking about the issue of domestic violence." Click for the full article. (Or see how the coronavirus has affected domestic abuse.)

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