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Gender Violence in Russia

The Politics of Feminist Intervention

Janet Elise Johnson

Publication Year: 2009

Just a few years ago, most Russian citizens did not recognize the notion of domestic violence or acknowledge that such a problem existed. Today, after years of local and international pressure to combat violence against women, things have changed dramatically. Gender Violence in Russia examines why and how this shift occurred -- and why there has been no similar reform on other gender violence issues such as rape, sexual assault, or human trafficking. Drawing on more than a decade of research, Janet Elise Johnson analyzes media coverage and survey data to explain why some interventions succeed while others fail. She describes the local-global dynamics between a range of international actors, from feminist activists to national governments, and an equally diverse set of Russian organizations and institutions.

Published by: Indiana University Press


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pp. vii

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Preface: Can Intervention Help Women?

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pp. ix-xv

In 2006, at the height of President Putin’s campaign to dominate nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), the European Union sponsored a conference on Russian civil society. On the surface, the event seemed woman-friendly, perhaps even feminist. Held in Finland—celebrating its first century of women suffrage and having a critical mass of women parliamentarians ...

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pp. xvii-xviii

For their patient descriptions and explanations, I thank the activists and scholars active in Russia, especially Nataliia Abubikirova, Elisabeth Duban, Gabrielle Fitchett-Akimova, Venera Ibragimova, Irina Khaldeeva, Zoia Khotkina, Marina Malysheva, Mariia Mokhova, Al’bina Pashina, Marina Pisklakova, Larisa Ponarina, Dianne Post, ...

List of Abbreviations

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pp. xix

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1. Introduction: Foreign Intervention and Gender Violence

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pp. 1-16

When the Russian borders opened in the early 1990s, the international community responded with an unprecedented torrent of attention to issues such as rape, sexual harassment, domestic violence, and later, trafficking in women. Small grants and then larger grants funded Russian academics to research ...

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2. The Global Feminist Challenge, Communism, and Postcommunism

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pp. 17-41

The consensus among global feminists constructed by the early 1990s issued a challenge to governments around the world. In contrast to this vision of women’s rights as human rights, violence against women had most often been treated as a woman’s individual misfortune that states had no responsibility to address. ...

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3. The Women’s Crisis Center Movement: Funding and De-funding Feminism

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pp. 42-68

Even as the new Russia was inhospitable to global feminism, liberalization and then the collapse of the Soviet regime opened Russia to a variety of global interventions designed to foster women’s mobilization, the first objective of global feminism. Some feminist foreigners and foreign women’s advocacy groups ...

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4. Sexual Assault: The Limits of Blame and Shame

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pp. 69-92

The 1998 publication of Margaret Keck and Kathyrn Sikkink’s Activists beyond Borders affirmed global activists’ hopes that new global norms, such as those that frame gender violence as human rights violations, could have important long-term impact on state behavior. ...

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5. Domestic Violence: The Benefits of Assistance

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pp. 93-118

If global norms and foreign intervention to help monitor, blame, and shame a government for its failure to address gender violence are not sufficient, perhaps more intrusive interventions could promote increased awareness and reform of policy and practice. ...

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6. Trafficking in Women: The Costs of State Pressure

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pp. 119-146

If foreign assistance combined with local and transnational feminist activism made the process of blaming and shaming more effective, perhaps more powerful intervention could be even more helpful in promoting global feminist change. In addition to the positive incentives of grants from large charitable foundations ...

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7. Conclusion: Recommendations for Future Interventions

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pp. 147-159

Over the last two decades, strong states, intergovernmental agencies, and large donors have increasingly justified their interventions as helping women. Their claims are given legitimacy by a new consensus among international women’s activists and human rights advocates that women’s rights are human rights. ...

Appendix 1. Women’s Human Rights and Gender Violence

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pp. 160-166

Appendix 2. Notes on Measurement and Method

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pp. 167-170


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pp. 171-200

Works Cited

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pp. 201-216


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pp. 217-230

Back cover

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E-ISBN-13: 9780253002587
E-ISBN-10: 0253002583
Print-ISBN-13: 9780253325938

Page Count: 256
Illustrations: 1 b&w photos, 1 figures, 1 map
Publication Year: 2009