Prominent Russian Feminist Lawmaker Says Won’t Seek Re-Election

Russian lawmaker Oksana Pushkina, the deputy chairman of the State Duma’s committee on family, women and children, will not seek re-election in her district in this September’s legislative elections, she told the RBC news website reported Monday.

“I will not hide the fact that the Moscow region’s governor sees another person as the main contender for victory in the 122nd electoral district. But my principles do not allow me to go to the polls against my previous team,” Pushkina told RBC.

She did not specify whether she would run for election in another district.

Russian singer Denis Maidanov, a vocal supporter of President Vladimir Putin, told the Znak.com news website that he plans to run for Pushkina’s State Duma seat.

Pushkina’s feminist, pro-LGBT and pro-choice views — which she has described as “common sense” — made her an anomaly among her colleagues from the ruling, pro-Kremlin United Russia party.

In the heavily conservative State Duma, she has been the most prominent advocate for re-criminalizing domestic violence in Russia. She has also spoken out against abortion restrictions, criticized a bill banning surrogacy for single people and promoted the idea of legalizing baby boxes in Russia.

The former television host told RBC that her time in the State Duma helped her grow as a person.

“The only true path is the path of mistakes, disappointments and new hopes. Be optimistic, believe in the best,” Pushkina said.

“The main thing that I’ve come to understand is that being a deputy is not a privilege, but a chance to change your country for the better. … A true legislator is one who acutely feels the pain of others and does not hide from human suffering in the high offices on Okhotny Ryad,” she added, referring to the location of the State Duma’s headquarters.

Prominent Gulag Historian’s 3.5-Year Prison Sentence Lengthened to 13 Years

A Russian court has lengthened the term prominent Gulag historian Yury Dmitriyev must serve in prison to 13 years, the Mediazona news website reported Tuesday, a surprise increase of a lenient sentence for charges his allies say were trumped up to silence him.

Dmitriyev was sentenced to 3.5 years in prison in July after a city court in northwestern Russia found him guilty of sexually assaulting his adopted daughter, a ruling his supporters viewed as a victory given the 15 years requested by prosecutors.

The Supreme Court of the republic of Karelia overturned that ruling and sentenced him to 13 years in a maximum-security penal colony, Mediazona reported, citing the lawyer of Dmitriyev’s adopted daughter.

Under his previous sentence, Dmitriyev, 64, would have been released in November as his time already served in pre-trial detention counted toward his sentence.

Human rights advocates condemned the Karelia Supreme Court’s ruling, calling it a “shame.”

Dmitriyev has vehemently denied the charges against him.

The head of the Memorial human rights group’s Karelia branch, Dmitriyev is known for helping open the Sandarmokh memorial to the thousands of victims murdered there during Stalin-era political repressions in 1937 and 1938.

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