Sexual Violence

Under the new criminal code that Russia adopted in 1996, there are four types of crimes of sexual violence. Under Article 131 of the code, rape, is defined as "sexual intercourse through the use of force, or through the threat of its use toward the victim or to other persons, or through taking advantage of the helpless state of the victim."(1) The previous law had specified that rape involved the use of physical force or the threat thereof. By dropping the adjective "physical" before the word "force," the 1996 law has broadened the crime of rape, including within its parameters sexual intercourse achieved through mental coercion or psychological manipulation. The penalty for rape is three to six years in prison, with two categories of various aggravating circumstances extending that time to four to ten years, or eight to fifteen years.

Article 132 defines the crime of "violent acts of a sexual nature." Its definition is nearly identical to that of rape, except that it focuses on "sodomy, lesbianism or any other acts of a sexual nature" rather than "sexual intercourse."(2) Prior to the adoption of the 1996 law, it was unclear whether the crime of rape or forced sexual relations included forms of sexual intercourse other than vaginal intercourse. A prosecutor in St. Petersburg, for example, told us that before the passage of the 1996 law, her office only prosecuted forced vaginal intercourse.(3) Article 132, which provides for the same penalties as Article 131, makes clear that other forms of forced sexual acts, including oral and anal rape, are equally grievous crimes.

The other two crimes of sexual violence are "coercion in acts of a sexual nature," as defined by Article 133, and "sexual intercourse or other acts of a sexual nature with persons who have not reached sixteen years of age," as defined by Article 134. The former, which extends to coercion "through blackmail, threats of destroying, damaging or confiscating property or by making use of the material or other dependence of the victim [male or female],"covers cases of sexual harassment in the workplace.(4) In contrast to other parts of the 1996 law, which generally reflect a heightened concern for crimes of sexual violence, Article 133 appears to take less seriously the crime of coerced sexual relations through exploitation of material relations. While the prior law specified punishment for this crime as imprisonment up to three years, the current law allows for penalties less severe than imprisonment, such as criminal fines.(5)

Domestic Violence

Most reports of domestic violence that do not involve claims of sexual violence are covered under Articles 115 and 116 of the new criminal code. Article 115 prohibits "the intentional causation of harm to the health entailing short-term disruption of health or negligible loss of fitness for work."(6) Article 116 covers lesser injuries defined as "beating or committing other violent actions causing physical pain but not resulting in the consequences stated in Article 115."(7) Long-term domestic violence can be prosecuted under Article 113 of the code, which prohibits the "systematic infliction of blows or other acts bearing the nature of torture."(8)

In 1995, the Duma's Committee on Women, Family, and Youth began drafting Russia's first law focusing on domestic violence, "On the Fundamentals of Social-Legal Defense Against Violence in the Family." Already in its fortieth draft, the proposed law has proceeded slowly through the legislative process and has yet to reach its first reading in the Duma. Even if the proposed law were to pass in the Duma, the extent to which the situation of victims of domestic violence would improve remains unclear. Unfortunately, women's groups, including crisis centers with first-hand field experience working with victims of domestic violence, have not had any formal consultative role in the drafting process. While Dr. Galina Sillaste, the drafting committee chair, has spoken at conferences and meetings sponsored by the crisis centers, these centers and other NGOs at first had almost no access to drafts of the law for comment. Later drafts were more readily available to interested parties outside the Duma. Lacking sufficient input from those who probably have the most sustained contact with, and thus significant understanding of the experiences of, domestic violence victims, the most recent draft law contains serious flaws that dramatically undermine its usefulness. As of late 1997, crisis center representatives urged that the family violence law be rejected in its entirety as drafted because its provisions would do more harm than good.

The most troubling element of the proposed law is its apparent attempt to reduce the already limited role of criminal sanctions in addressing domestic violence. According to the Information Center of the Women's Independent Forum, the draft law relegates the law enforcement aspect of combatting domestic violence to the background and disproportionately assigns the responsibility for responding to domestic violence to the social services system. As a result, it is unclear whether, under the proposed law, a victim is supposed to turn to the police or to social services.(9) While the provision of social services to victims of domestic violence is critical, the focus on such services to the exclusion of criminal sanctions signals a failure to recognize that violence within the family is as serious as violence among strangers. The deemphasis on criminal sanctions, moreover, removes an important deterrent to domestic violence.

The draft law also seeks to limit the availability of crucial escape hatches for some victims of family violence. The draft specifies that emergency temporary shelter shall be provided only to "dependent family members," including the elderly, disabled, minors, and those with very low income. Excluded from this category are working women with at least a minimal level of income. Such women would have a right to shelter only after proving that they are in imminent danger of serious injury.

Even the provision of social services to those who are included in the draft law's contemplation remains in doubt. While the draft law calls for extensive social services, it appears unlikely that sufficient funds will be allocated to its implementation. Most of the social service programs that are supposed to deal with domestic assault are not yet in existence. Lyudmilla Zavadskaya, a former Duma member and now a deputy minister of justice, has pointed out, for example, that the law grants battered women a right to shelter for up to seven days but fails to specify or appropriate resources for the provision of such shelter.(10) In light of the fact that only 7 percent of the services set forth in the November 1995 Social Services Law have been established,(11) it is unlikely that the services specified in the draft domestic violence law would promptly be made available.

Another aspect of the draft law that threatens to worsen the situation for victims of violence is the proposed licensing scheme of crisis centers, the primary groups that are currently providing services to female victims. Under the proposed law, crisis centers would only be allowed to operate if they were to fulfill certain requirements, including, for example, the responsibility to serve an extremely broad range of clients, and minimum staffing of at least twenty persons, many of whom would be required to have college degrees in designated majors.(12) As one journalist has pointed out, this licensing scheme "could be used to wipe out the grassroots [efforts] that have started the whole movement on this issue [violence against women]."(13) According to Galina Sillaste, a consultant to the Duma, the licensing provision is necessary to review the crisis centers' "motives and professional competence," and to prevent such institutions from turning into brothels.(14) Because such problems, as Sillaste acknowledged, have not manifested in the past, and the crisis centers, which provide their volunteers with more than eighty hours of training, are generally well regarded,(15) the asserted justification for the licensing requirements appears doubtful. Before passing any such legislation, it is essential that the Duma examine the extent to which these measures may actually limit rather than improve critical services provided to victims of violence.


When there is war, when there are moral tragedies in the country, there is no time to think about sexual violence. Because there are more important problems now, sexual violence does not deserve much attention. Women have other concerns. Russian women are strong and men know that.

-Alevtina Viktorovna Aparina,
Chair, Duma Committee on Women, the Family and Youth, Moscow, May 13, 1996

Bias against victims of sexual violence pervades the Russian criminal justice system. From their initial lodging of the complaints until the final resolution of the cases, victims seeking redress for sexual violence regularly confront law enforcement institutions and individuals hostile to and suspicious of their motives and intentions. According to Natalya Khodireva, general director of the St. Petersburg Psychological Crisis Center for Women, police, forensic doctors, prosecutors, and judges view victims of sexual violence skeptically and tend to believe that they brought the attack upon themselves.(16) Law enforcement officials overwhelmingly fail to respond to sexual assault as a crime unless the victim is a virgin, the offender is a stranger, and the violation entails the infliction of visible injury.

In interviews with Human Rights Watch, police repeatedly declared that women are to blame for sexual assault if they dress in an alluring fashion, drink alcohol, or stay out late at night. "Sometimes the woman is to blame," Yelena Kraskova, a major in the police force in Murmansk, stated, "for example, when a woman goes to a restaurant at two a.m. and after leaving the restaurant, she takes the man home."(17) In the sole rape case that she investigated, Natalia Averina, a sixteen-year veteran of the Moscow police force and former director of the All-Soviet Association of Policewomen, told us, the victims had been drinking and therefore were at least partly to blame for the rape, despite the fact that, after meeting four men in a restaurant, the two women were held for several days by the men who repeatedly beat and raped them.(18) According to a forensic doctor in Nizhni Tagil, the police often ask victims questions such as, "Why did you dress that way?" or "Why were you out at night?" These stereotypical conceptions of "real" victims of sexual violence, as opposed to those who asked for it, often result in policies outright refusals to accept reports of sexual violence from victims who do not conform to the traditional model of a young virgin with visible physical injuries.

In the limited cases where a victim's report is accepted, women often also encounter bias from prosecutors. Viktor Sukharinov, the head prosecutor for the Krasnosels region, a suburb of St. Petersburg, told Human Rights Watch that in the two sexual assaults reported in April 1996, the victims--one of whom was gang-raped--provoked the rapes through drinking and going home with men whom they had just met.(19) According to Sukharinov, 50 percent of all women reporting rape were themselves responsible for the assault. Another prosecutor from St. Petersburg told Human Rights Watch that "most rapes occur when a woman acts unreasonably. They go to places with men and drink alcohol, and willingly or unwillingly provoke the crime. Especially young girls who accept drink offers and car rides."(20) Tatyana Nikolaeva, also a St. Petersburg prosecutor, stated that the main problem in prosecuting sexual violence is the behavior of the rape victim, during the rape and during the police and prosecutor questioning.(21) A prosecutor in Murmansk, Valentina Abanicha, told us, "Rape is very hard to investigate. Sometimes you learn that she has had sexual relations for several years. We try to convince the parents that there is not enough evidence to continue, and that you cannot prosecute on the girl's story alone."(22) A prosecutor in Moscow told us that the main problems in rape investigations are that victims behave inappropriately during attacks and that women do not seem sufficiently distraught in police interviews.(23)

The bias also manifests in the courts. As a regional court judge in Murmansk, Boris Orlov explained, "The legal structures are in place only to protect the well-behaved woman, because in other cases they can see that the woman and her behavior caused the crime."(24) According to Judge Orlov, the court always considers the behavior of the rape victim when determining the defendant's punishment. A 1977 handbook for defense attorneys in sex crime cases, which is still in use, illustrates the types of biased arguments against sexual assault victims that courts permit. Asserting that women always resist sexual relations, the handbook counsels that it is the degree of resistance that is critical in rape cases: "in most cases a woman at first will decline a man's suggestions [for intimate relations] giving in only after the latter's use of force."(25) The handbook advises attorneys to "tak[e] into consideration the possibility that the woman claiming she was raped in some way provoked the act or had engaged in provocative behavior prior to the sex act."(26) According to the handbook, drinking alcohol together, loose behavior, agreeing to be alone, and tendency toward conversation bearing sexual content, inter alia, all provoke a man into intimate contact with a woman.(27)

These law enforcement attitudes reflect a broader social suspicion of female rape victims. In 1995 RACCW, through its Research Education and Advocacy Project, conducted a survey of Russian attitudes about violence against women in Nizhni Tagil, Polevskoy, Ekaterinburg, Sergeyev Posad, and St. Petersburg. More than half of the survey respondents, men slightly more than women, agreed with certain popular myths about rape. For example, 78 percent of men and 54 percent of women believed that rape happens to women who speak to strangers. Many of the respondents suggested that they believed that women provoke rape. More than half the women and over two-thirds of the men believed that rapists target women who wear provocative clothing. Further, more than half of the men and women believed that a woman is largely to blame for her attack if she is raped after going to a man's house to listen to music. An article in the weekly, Argument i Fakti, stated, "It must be noted that in many cases, the women victims provoke the violent behavior."(28)

The reluctance by law enforcement officials to investigate violence against women combined with these societal misperceptions has created an environment in Russia where sexual violence is rarely acknowledged and punished. Law enforcement officials regularly block women's attempts to file formal complaints; obstruct or conduct haphazard and inadequate investigations; and dismiss all but the most clearcut and foolproof cases. Until government officials shed these biased and stereotypical conceptions of "real" victims versus "loose" women, sexual offenders will remain unpunished and the violence will continue unabated.

Processing of Complaints

From the stories I have heard, I would replace all of the police.
-Tatyana Lipovskaya
Moscow Sexual Assault Recovery Center
Moscow, April 23, 1996

Refusal of Complaints

The first obstacle that women face when reporting sexual violence to the police is the routine unwillingness of officers to register their complaints. In every region that we visited we heard reports of the police rejecting complaints without investigation. According to Lola Karimova, a gynecologist who works with victims of sexual violence in Moscow, the police officer who escorted home a fourteen-year-old girl who had been raped in the Arbat in Moscow told her not to file a report because there were no witnesses.(29) The mother took her daughter to the police station the next morning and waited there for several hours but was still unable to get the police to accept the complaint. In another case, Alexander Shestakov, who runs a counseling center for the mentally disabled in Nizhni Tagil, recounted the experience of a woman who had come to his clinic in 1995 because she was depressed. After some questioning, she told a staff member that she had been raped by a group of men in a car.(30) When the woman first tried to report the assault, the police told her they would not accept her report and instead asked her why she was walking in the middle of the night. According to Shestakov, the police accepted her report only after staff from the counseling center accompanied her to the police station and helped her to write the report. After a lengthy investigation, the defendant was convicted and sentenced to eight years in prison.

The police often justify their rejection of complaints of sexual violence by suggesting that the complaints are fabricated, especially in cases where the victim knew her attacker. Russian law does not distinguish between sexual assault by an acquaintance and the same act by a stranger, but in practice the assaults are treated quite differently. With regard to assaults by acquaintances, nearly every law enforcement official with whom we spoke pointed to cases that they believed were motivated by blackmail, revenge, or the desire to marry the alleged assailant. False and malicious allegations were quite common, they recounted. A Moscow police officer, Natalia Averina, for example, asserted that the severity of the penalty for rape led many women to make false accusations of rape in order to exact bribes from defendants.(31)

The police are particularly likely to reject complaints of sexual violence from married women and single women who have been sexually active. In order to discourage these women from seeking redress, the police often suggest that their complaints are frivolous or groundless. In one case, the police attempted to convince Zoya Khotkina, a women's rights activist, to have a woman she was helping, L.B., withdraw her report: "They would say that people are murdered on the street, but here it is just rape. And what was so terrible, they said, was that she was not a virgin, she was not a child."(32) In another case, a forty-six-year-old Moscow woman was raped and beaten for three hours. Although the police ultimately accepted her complaint, the officer processing it asked her why she was so upset, she had not been a virgin for many years.(33)

Another reason why the police reject complaints is the perceived delay in reporting. They operate on the misperception, recounted to us by a police officer from Saratov, that, "[a]s a rule, women who are raped come to the police immediately."(34) They fail to recognize the many reasons, including shock, incapacitation, shame, and fear, that hinder victims from reporting assaults immediately. I.P., a woman who had been orally and anally raped and beaten by a visitor in her communal apartment in Moscow, reported the assault to the police approximately five days after the attack. After subjecting her to questioning by two officers, the police refused her complaint on the grounds that she had waited too long to report. I.P. persisted, and four days later, the police in the same station finally accepted her complaint.(35) In another case, a young woman who was raped at work by a colleague went to the police after a month but was told that too much time had passed; she was not permitted to file her complaint.(36) According to a police officer in Saratov, when women do not report immediately the police will do a preliminary investigation into the facts.(37) This investigation does not, however, guarantee that a criminal case will be opened.

Mistreatment of Victims

Beyond rejecting complaints outright, the police also frustrate the filing of reports by mistreating victims. Rather than processing the complaints in a neutral manner, the police often scold victims and attempt to frighten them by suggesting that they will suffer if a report is filed. Sometimes, the police emphasize that the investigation will be shameful and will involve collecting information about the victim's past sexual and other behavior. They threaten that they will have to contact the victim's employers and colleagues to find out more about her.(38) As the director of a psychological support center for girls explained, "Instead of helping you [the victim], they [the police] give you the sense that you should be embarrassed."(39) Zoya Khotkina, a researcher at the Moscow Gender Studies Center, told us of a twenty-year-old woman, L.B., who had been raped and beaten by her boss in September 1995 on her fourth day of work. L.B. suffered fifty-six bruises all over her body, a punctured ear drum, and a brain concussion. When she managed to escape from the office, she called her brother for help, and they immediately went to the police. For eight days, the police tried to convince her to rescind her report: "It is shameful," the police said, "There will be a court hearing. It will take too long. It is shameful."(40) In another case, in April 1995 in Moscow, a fifteen-year-old girl, accompanied by her mother, went to a police station to file a rape complaint. Attempting to discourage the report's filing, the police told her mother, "We haven't had such acts in our area in a long time. Don't spoil our record."(41)

The police also mistreat and intimidate victims by subjecting them to an unnecessarily grueling process of repeated and sometimes pointless interviews. Victims of sexual assault have been required to return to the police station several times for questioning, often by many different officers. In cases reported to Human Rights Watch, women typically had to recount their experiences to at least four officers just to have their complaints accepted. These interviews were generally several hours long and conducted with little regard for the trauma experienced by the victims. A fifteen-year-old victim of gang rape from Moscow told us that she had told her story to police officials at least twenty times.(42) Another young woman who had been raped in Sergeyev Posad said with exasperation, " I am tired of telling my story to everyone. I have told it at least ten or eleven times." "It is like a marathon," said the director of a crisis center in Nizhni Tagil, when asked to describe the process of filing a complaint.(43) Although the repeated questioning may be attributable to a lack of police training on how to conduct investigations into sexual violence, the effect of this relentless process is that many victims become intimidated and dissuaded from pursuing their complaints. According to a children's gynecologist in Murmansk, almost all her clients who have experienced sexual violence refuse to go to the police because they are afraid of the questioning and investigation procedures: "It is very difficult for them, all these procedures, all these interrogations. It is a tragedy."(44)

The experience of I.P, a rape victim, illustrates that, unless a victim is resilient and determined, she will probably not succeed in filing a complaint. I.P. first tried to file a complaint at her local police station on November 10, 1995. After the police rejected her report, I.P.'s sister intervened and went to the Moscow central police station to determine whether the local police station was required to take I.P.'s report. She was told that the station was so obligated.(45) The next day, I.P., accompanied by her sister, returned to the local police station and recounted her story to a different officer on duty and then three more times to three additional officers. The officers then told I.P. and her sister to return to the station two days later, on November 13, when their supervisor would be in. On November 13, I.P. and her sister returned, only to be told that the supervisor was unavailable. When they returned the next day, another officer asked them to return the following day, I.P.'s sister demanded to speak to the police chief, with whom they had spoken on their first visit to the station. According to I.P.'s sister, the police chief was "shocked" that they had returned but gave his permission for the report to be filed.(46)

Forensic Examinations

Forensic evidence is central to the successful prosecution of a sexual assault case. Often, the forensic evidence will be the only corroboration of the complainant's case, confirming not only the fact that sexual contact or intercourse took place, and with a particular individual, but also that such contact took place without the complainant's consent. While forensic evidence cannot prove the lack of consent, it can be strongly suggestive that sexual contact or intercourse was the result of assault and not agreement. Unfortunately, victims of sexual assault in Russia encounter substantial obstacles in securing this critical evidence. From their initial attempts to access forensic examinations to their experience once they do receive an examination, sexual assault victims are consistently thwarted by law enforcement officials and forensic doctors in their efforts to preserve meaningful and potentially powerful evidence.

Delayed Referrals

Because evidence of sexual assault such as semen and bruising will reduce and vanish over time, it is generally critical that the evidence be gathered and documented as soon as possible after the assault.(47) For most victims, the police are the first state actors whom they turn to in seeking redress for their assaults. Unfortunately, rather than promptly referring the complainants to forensic examinations, the police often block or delay women's access to them. Because some forensic doctors at state-run evidence centers will examine a victim only after she has been questioned by the police and received an official referral,(48) the failure of the police to provide timely referrals seriously impairs the chances that a victim's attacker will be brought to justice.

In some cases, the police deliberately refuse to provide referrals to victims, even those who affirmatively seek them. Consider, for example, the case of N.V., a fourteen-year-old girl who had been raped in Sergeyev Posad in August 1994. According to Y.V., N.V.'s mother, Y.V. took N.V. to a gynecologist for medical treatment ten days after the rape.(49) The gynecologist told them that N.V. had physical signs of being raped and that N.V. had to have an exam at the official evidence center in order to prosecute the crime. Y.V. and N.V. went directly to the Sergeyev Posad police station and filed a report. Despite Y.V.'s request for a medical referral, the police officer refused to give them one. Four or five days later, when their case was given to an investigator, Y.V. repeated her request for an official referral, this time from the investigator. The investigator replied, "I do not know the address of the center. I do not know how to get there," and told Y.V. to return in a week. When she returned the next week, the investigator again stated that she did not have the address and told Y.V., "Don't worry, it is not such a big deal that the girl was raped. Nothing happened to her. She is fine." Y.V. continued to request an official referral every day for the next six months. After losing her patience, Y.V. finally declared to the investigator, "Give me a referral or I will go find it myself." The investigator wrote down the address and threw it at Y.V. Seven months had passed since the rape. After the examination, the doctor told Y.V and N.V., "You might as well have come in two years later. I tried to do everything, but you are too late."

In other instances, the police appear unaware of the urgency of forensic examinations and, by neglecting to inform victims of the importance of prompt examinations, to give them official referrals. Indeed, there is some confusion among police and prosecutors over who has the authority to refer women for forensic exams and when it is appropriate to do so. One prosecutor emphasized that she strongly disapproved of the police giving women referrals to evidence centers before the prosecution has had an opportunity to interview them.(50)

Even when the police do give official referrals, they still delay women's access to the evidence centers by arranging for appointments well after the date of the referral.(51) According to Larissa Romanova, a forensic gynecologist in Moscow, a victim can undergo an examination at an evidence center on the same day that she acquires an official referral.(52) Nonetheless, she continued, it is common practice for the police to arrange appointments for rape complainants two or three days later. Sometimes, the police require that all outstanding legal issues be resolved before the victim is allowed to be examined at the evidence center. For example, I.P., who, as described above, encountered significant resistance when she tried to file a complaint, received a referral to the Moscow evidence center only after she had identified the accused in person.(53) She received her examination seven days after she had reported the rape, or twelve days after it had occurred. In another 1995 case in Moscow, a twenty-three-year-old woman, who had been gang-raped in an apartment by people she knew, reported the assault the next morning but was told to go to the evidence center three days later.(54) Only after her mother insisted that the examination be performed more quickly did the police change the appointment to two days later instead.

Beyond unnecessarily delaying the examination, the police also undermine the preservation of forensic evidence by failing to inform victims of the need to refrain from washing their clothes or themselves before the examinations. One gynecologist, for example, told us of an incident in which the police neither questioned an assault victim about whether she had washed herself or her underwear nor informed her of the need to refrain from doing so.(55) By the time of the examination, the gynecologist recounted, the woman had washed herself and her underwear several times. The evidence center thus refused to perform a pelvic exam, leaving the evidence incomplete and providing the investigators with a reason to close the case. As the executive director of a Moscow sexual assault recovery center stated, "We can regard these cases as sabotage, because it is hard to imagine that the police do not know how to proceed."(56)

Inaccessibility of Doctors

While there is no law in Russia that provides that only forensic evidence obtained by state-run evidence centers is admissible in court, in practice only evidence from these centers is admitted in sexual assault cases. Indeed, most of the nonforensic gynecologists, crisis center workers, and government officials we interviewed believed that this was required by law; of the few that believed that evidence from other sources was admissible, many asserted that such evidence did not carry the same weight as that from state-run centers. Unfortunately, however, our research revealed that it is very difficult for sexual assault victims, even after they have received official referrals, to undergo examinations at the state-run centers.

With two exceptions, each region or city in Russia has only one state-run evidence center; Moscow and its surrounding region have three in total, and St. Petersburg and its surrounding region have two. Usually, the centers are inconveniently located. The evidence center in Nizhni Tagil, for example, the only center that we were permitted to visit, is located approximately forty-five minutes by car from the city. In Murmansk, the evidence center is located on the outskirts of the city. Similarly, the Moscow regional evidence center is difficult to access; one young woman who had been gang-raped told us that she had to search for the center for more than an hour.(57)

Not only are the evidence centers few and in isolated locations, but they are poorly staffed. Of the areas that we visited, only Moscow and St. Petersburg had gynecologists on staff at the evidence centers to perform sexual assault examinations. The Murmansk, Nizhni Tagil, and Moscow regional evidence centers had only a few doctors, and they performed all examinations, including autopsies.(58) In order to address the staff shortage and emergency situations, authorities in Moscow have made limited efforts to enable the gathering of forensic evidence outside of business hours. A team of forensic doctors, ready if necessary to go to the scene of a crime, is on duty in the Moscow Central Police station when the evidence center is closed.(59) This team covers all crimes, however, and is rarely available to investigate rapes because priority is given to murder investigations.(60)

In recent years, the Russian government has established separate commercial divisions of the state-run evidence centers in several municipalities, including Moscow and St. Petersburg. In these divisions, a sexual assault victim can be examined by government forensic doctors without an official referral; sometimes victims who have had their complaints rejected by the police will go to these centers and use the medical reports to urge the police to accept the complaint.(61) The victim must, however, pay a significant sum for an examination in the commercial division: in Moscow, the exam costs approximately 200,000 rubles (U.S.$40 as of this publication), approximately 25 percent of the average monthly salary, and there is an additional fee for testing of any the samples gathered.(62) Although these commercial exams are performed by the same doctors who work at the official branch, the exams do not have the same legal effect. Even if a victim has been examined at the commercial center, once her complaint is accepted by the police she must be re-examined at the official evidence center; any evidence taken in the commercial division will simply be recorded in the protocol for the second examination.(63) Given the cost and limited value of the commercial reports, it should come as no surprise that few women go to the commercial branch. According to one forensic doctor in Moscow, the Moscow commercial branch examines fewer than ten sexual assault victims per year.(64)

Instead of going to state-run evidence centers, some sexual assault victims seek out the services of medical professionals at hospitals and government clinics. Yet here too, doctors prove to be quite inaccessible. Doctors working outside evidence centers are often reluctant to examine, or treat, victims of sexual violence.(65) In some instances, this reluctance may be based upon an unwillingness to be associated with a criminal case and the criminal justice system.(66) Many physicians do not want to treat rape victims because the doctors do not want to appear in court. In addition, one doctor told us that many of her colleagues find most victims' stories not credible.(67) According to one crisis center worker, the nonforensic gynecologists she contacted in search of medical assistance for her clients refused on the grounds that they (the gynecologists) did not have the right to collect admissible evidence and did not want to go to court.(68) The experience of R.C., a fourteen-year-old girl who was raped, provides a chilling example of the difficulties that sexual assault victims face in seeking medical help.(69) After the assault, R.C. began to run a high fever, experienced nausea and headaches, and exhibited signs of a brain concussion. Her mother called a number of doctors, but when they heard that R.C. had been raped, they refused to treat her. After R.C.'s mother contacted Lola Karimova through the Syostri crisis center, they called a general physician and told him that R.C. had fallen down the stairs. R.C. was subsequently treated by a neurologist and pediatrician.

Inadequate and Abusive Examinations

The purpose of forensic examinations of sexual assault victims is to collect physical evidence of the assault, both the physical signs that a violation has occurred and any materials that may identify the offender. In the United States, examiners are advised to look for evidence related to the use of force and penetration, materials from the offender, and substances from the location of the assault.(70) Doctors are also instructed to ask the victim about the assault and her activities and to tailor their examinations based on the information received.(71) According to one U.S. practitioner, "A successful sexual assault exam must incorporate not only sound medical treatment but also meticulous evidence collection technique and a special sensitivity to the psychosocial needs of the victim."(72) Only gynecological information relevant to the interpretation of physical findings or laboratory data should be recorded.(73)

By contrast, Russian forensic doctors will only seek evidence and information that is requested by the police or the prosecutors, and do not consider the victim's description of the assault or their physical condition. According to a police officer in Moscow, the investigator must be very careful to specify all the information necessary to an investigation; otherwise the evidence will not be gathered.(74) While some doctors may choose on their own to question the victim about the assault or seek further evidence,(75) they are neither required nor advised to do so. To the contrary, they are often discouraged from taking the initiative by prosecutors who prefer that they not deviate from standard questions.

In sexual assault cases, forensic doctors tend to focus their examinations on the condition of the victim's hymen. "As a rule, the first question is whether the hymen is intact," stated Larissa Romanova, a forensic gynecologist at a Moscow evidence center.(76) If the hymen is torn, she continued, it must then be determined when the tearing occurred. This preoccupation with the hymen, however, has no legal or medical basis and instead reflects an inappropriate concern over the victim's alleged virginity status and popular misconceptions regarding the medical verifiability of virginity. Russian rape law does not distinguish between the sexual violations of virgins versus other women; single or married women who have engaged in sexual intercourse prior to the assault and whose hymens may already be torn are protected under the law no less than are virgins. Moreover, modern medical standards hold that the use of the condition of the hymen to indicate recent sexual intercourse, or even virginity status, is medically groundless and inaccurate.(77) The consequence of forensic doctors' practice of concentrating their examinations on women's supposed virginity status is that they fail to provide a thorough examination for the discovery of evidence of all forms of sexual violence, and especially deny non-virgins appropriate forensic examinations.

In addition to being inadequate, the forensic examinations tend to be abusive. Apparently poorly trained in conducting sexual assault exams,(78) forensic doctors tend to demonstrate little sensitivity to the potential trauma that the victim suffered through the sexual assault or continues to suffer because of the forensic examination. According to Dr. Lola Karimova, a private gynecologist in Moscow who had spoken with seven women examined at the Moscow evidence center between 1994 and 1996, "Not a single woman told us that she had been treated as a woman who had been through a personal tragedy."(79) Instead, many women are left with the impression that the doctors blame them for the assault. "Now I understand that I am a second-rate woman,"said one victim.(80) "I was treated like a bad woman who wanted to punish someone," said another.(81)

The forensic doctors' insensitivity is manifest not only in their reportedly demeaning attitudes towards the victims but also in their complete disregard for the women's privacy interests. Our interviews indicated that at least two official persons, and often many others, are routinely present during the examinations. According to Svetlana Gibatdinova, president of the Nizhni Tagil Crisis Center, for example, approximately four people are typically present during rape examinations in Nizhni Tagil.(82) A forensic gynecologist from a Moscow evidence center told us that she and the nurse who writes the findings are present during her examinations, and the head of the forensic department also enters the room on occasion.(83) In the St. Petersburg evidence center, which consists of two small rooms, we were told, the door between the two rooms continuously opens and closes while the forensic doctor examines the assault victim in one room and a line of people wait their turn to be examined outside the door in the other room.(84) Although sexual assault victims frequently are reluctant to discuss the details of their assault in front of strangers, many, it appears, are too afraid to ask for a more private setting. According to Dr. Karimova, none of the seven women in Moscow whom she interviewed reported that they had requested a one-on-one interview, but they all stated that they felt humiliated in having to discuss the assaults and be physically examined in front of many others.(85)

Further demonstrating their lack of sensitivity to the needs of the sexual assault victims, the forensic doctors do not take steps to inform the victims, regardless of their age, of the nature of the examinations, and thereby fail to minimize the intimidation and foreignness associated with the examinations.(86) The women we interviewed were not told, for example, what samples would be taken or what would be done with those samples. As one gynecologist acknowledged, "Usually we do not explain the exam. Here, people understand that if they were referred for the exam, they must do it. In other countries, they pay more attention to the psychological state of the victim, but our exam has other requirements."(87)

Finally, the forensic doctors generally fail to provide even minimal treatment for the health consequences of the sexual assault. They do not, as a matter of course, provide counseling or tests for pregnancy or sexually transmitted diseases. Nor do they provide referrals. While there are some forensic doctors who do give tests or referrals,(88) the practice appears to depend upon the doctor and the day.

When sexual assault victims seek out the same services in hospitals or clinics rather than official evidence centers, they usually fare no better, and sometimes, do worse. According to many gynecologists, women's rights activists, and law enforcement officers, the care and evidentiary examinations in clinics and hospital emergency rooms are likely to be even more hostile and inadequate than those in the evidence centers.(89) Not only do nonforensic doctors lack training in sexual assault examinations and generally fail to gather, and in fact sometimes destroy, forensic evidence,(90) but, like forensic doctors, they often treat victims as though they are to blame for the assault. At local clinics, the director of a crisis center in Nizhni Tagil told us, "Women are often accused of being prostitutes. The doctors talk about provoking behavior."(91)


After the police accept the sexual assault victim's complaint and arrange for her forensic examination, police involvement in the cases usually ceases. Except in cases where the defendant is a minor, the prosecutor's office assumes responsibility for the case, and investigators from the prosecutor's office, rather than the police, take over the investigatory process. During this process, the investigators will, inter alia, interview the victim, defendant, and any other witnesses; evaluate signs of violence; and analyze the scene of the crime. Based on the evidence collected, the prosecutors then decide whether to take the case to court or to close the case. In cases of sexual assault, this decision is made frequently after a preliminary investigation: the prosecution investigator concludes that no crime occurred, and the case is closed.(92)

Demonstrating a failure to take seriously crimes of sexual assault, prosecutors and prosecution investigators prove unwilling to conduct investigations, and when they do conduct them, reveal biases against and insensitivity towards victims of sexual violence.

Unwillingness to Investigate

Prosecutors in Russia generally approach cases of sexual violence with an unwarranted, high degree of skepticism. Espousing views similar to those of police officers, prosecutors we interviewed in Moscow, Murmansk, St. Petersburg, and the Krasnoselsk region tended to believe that women often file false reports or are themselves responsible for provoking the attacks. A prosecutor from St. Petersburg, Tatyana Nikolaeva, for example, alleged that one out of ten women reporting sexual violence fabricates the report.(93) Accordingly, Nikolaeva stated, she will not usually begin an investigation unless there is sufficient evidence that an assault took place. Cases that usually lack such evidence, she explained, include acquaintance rape and those without obvious signs of violence. In acknowledging that threats of violence rather than violence per se could lead to an assault, Nikolaeva added that, in those instances, a psychological examination would be necessary to determine whether the victim would be susceptible to such nonphysical coercion; one could not simply assume that an individual might submit to threats of violence. Nikolaeva justified her wary approach to sexual assault cases in part by pointing out that many victims change their testimony. This happens about ten to fifteen times per year, and when it does, she told us, she brings charges against the complainants for false testimony.

In many instances, prosecutors will also attempt to discourage women from continuing sexual assault investigations. Sometimes, the prosecutors or investigators will simply ask the complainant, or her representative, to drop the case. In one case, for example, a mother reported that the investigator handling her daughter's case requested that the mother sign a statement saying that she did not want to pursue the case, so that the investigator could close it.(94) In another case, a researcher at the Moscow Center for Gender Studies who was helping a victim pursue a rape complaint, was continually urged by investigators to advise her client to drop the case.(95) Every time she called investigators to inquire about the case, they would repeatedly say, "[Your client] may want to drop the case." Other prosecutors may be less direct. For example, an eighteen-year-old woman, who was raped at a party by a friend of a friend and had reported the assault to her parents immediately and to the police about seven to ten days thereafter, received subtle but consistent pressure from the prosecutor's office to withdraw her complaint.(96) The defendant claimed that the woman had pursued sexual relations with him and that he had been unable to resist. Because the investigator continually relayed the defendant's assertions to the woman, she began to blame herself, internalizing the idea that she had provoked the attack. Eventually, she withdrew the report and told a counselor at a local crisis center, "I will feel better when it is gone."

Instead of attempting to convince the victim to drop the complaint, the investigator simply may decide to do so on his or her own. In the case of Z.T., the fifteen-year-old girl who was gang-raped near Moscow, for example, the prosecutor asserted that no crime had occurred and closed the case. The investigator told Z.T. that since her and her friend's testimony was too brief in comparison to that of the defendants, she had concluded that they must be hiding something.(97) The prosecutor also claimed that the forensic report indicated that Z.T.'s hymen was intact and that no semen had been recovered. Yet, according to Z.T., her mother read the forensic report and saw that it stated that the assault could have taken place without the hymen breaking and that Z.T.'s menstruation at the time of the assault could explain the lack of semen. Although the medical examiner found dark spots, which Z.T. said were blood, on her clothes, the examiner did not test the spots. In fact, the investigators did not have Z.T.'s clothes examined until six months after the attack. While Z.T.'s sister and mother want to try and reopen the case, Z.T. does not. Although some victims might challenge an investigator's decision, it appears that others refrain from doing so because of a sense of frustration and hopelessness with the justice system.

In some cases, the investigators do not even bother to inform the complainants that their cases have been closed. I.P., the woman described above who was raped in her Moscow communal apartment, for example, reported her rape to the police on November 10, 1995 and waited until late January 1996 for an update on her case. Having heard nothing, M.P., I.P.'s sister, finally called the investigator for information. At the investigator's request, M.P. and I.P. went to her office and then learned from the investigator's supervisor that the accused had been released from police custody on November 15, prior to I.P.'s forensic exam, due to lack of evidence. In addition, they learned that the police had lost I.P.'s original forensic report detailing her injuries. As of April 1996, the police were still unable to locate the accused and, according to M.P., appeared to be making little effort to do so. I.P. has never returned to the apartment where the rape occurred. In another case, the assault victim's mother happened to meet the accused, whom she had believed to be in prison, at a bus stop. When she asked him where he was going, he replied that the prosecutor had let him go home.(98) According to the mother, the prosecutor told her that she (the prosecutor) had released the defendant shortly after his arrest because she (the prosecutor) did not think he was terrible and did not want to ruin his life. In June 1995, approximately ten months after the rape of her daughter and two months after the alleged court date, Y.V. learned that the court had not had any rape cases scheduled. When she asked the investigator why the case had been closed, the investigator responded that there was insufficient evidence. After that, Y.V. had the case reopened with a new investigator, and as of April 1996, when we interviewed them, Y.V. and N.V. were going to see the new investigator.

Invasions of Privacy

Article 17 of the ICCPR guarantees to all the right to privacy. It provides that "[n]o one shall be subjected to arbitrary or unlawful interference with his privacy, family, home or correspondence, nor to unlawful attacks on his honour and reputation," and that "[e]veryone has the right to the protection of the law against such interference or attacks."(99) In interpreting this right, the United Nations Human Rights Committee has acknowledged that the right to privacy is "necessarily relative," and there may be some instances in which the right to privacy must yield to other, more pressing rights or considerations.(100) These instances, however, are circumscribed. As the committee has stated, "the competent public authorities should only be able to call for such information relating to an individual's private life the knowledge of which is essential in the interests of society as understood under the Covenant."(101) In those limited circumstances where the right to privacy may be abridged, moreover, the committee has specified that "relevant legislation must specify in detail the precise circumstances in which such [authorized] interferences may be permitted."(102)

The state should be especially vigilant in protecting the privacy rights of crime victims. In its Declaration of Basic Principles of Justice for Victims of Crime and Abuse of Power, the United Nations General Assembly has stressed the need to treat victims with compassion and with respect for their dignity.(103) The declaration specifies that, consonant with these aims, the state, and in particular the judicial and administrative processes, should take measures to minimize inconvenience to victims and to protect their privacy.(104) This obligation to respect the victim's right to privacy falls on all arms of the state's justice system, including law enforcement officials and prosecutors. According to the United Nations Guidelines on the Role of Prosecutors, prosecutors shall "[k]eep matters in their possession confidential, unless the performance of duty or the needs of justice require otherwise."(105) Similarly, according to the United Nations Code of Conduct for Law Enforcement Officials, "Matters of a confidential nature in the possession of law enforcement officials shall be kept confidential, unless the performance of duty or the needs of justice strictly require otherwise."(106)

Unfortunately, the Russian investigative process of crimes of sexual violence fails to safeguard the victim's right to privacy. Without any clearly delineated guidelines circumscribing their investigation,(107) investigators may interview the victim's family, neighbors, and colleagues (either schoolmates or coworkers) in order to prepare a psychological profile of the complainant or to surmise whether and to what degree she may have resisted the attack. While limited investigation into the victim's sexual past with the accused may be appropriate, many of these investigations appear to move far beyond these bounds, examining in detail the victim's entire past sexual history and background. Instead of focusing on whether the woman was involved with the defendant or had consensual sex shortly before the alleged attack, they focus on her general sexual reputation and behavior.

The investigative process may infringe on the victim's right to privacy in a number of ways. First, the interviews place an unnecessary, and often prejudicial, emphasis on the sexual experience and general behavior of the victim. The investigations suggest that the victim's character, rather than the alleged violation, is at issue. By attempting to expose the victim's entire sexual history, law enforcement officials are calling for information relating to an individual's private life that is difficult to justify as in the state's essential interests in a rape investigation. Instead of providing clearly relevant evidence as to whether unconsented intercourse took place in a particular instance, the information often merely serves to answer stereotypical questions that are irrelevant to the question of rape. In other words, the investigators' decisions about what information to gather are largely driven by prejudicial notions about rape victims, as discussed in the bias section of this report. According to Boris Orlov, a regional court judge in Murmansk, for example, when the victim's word stands against the defendant's, it is important to learn what the woman was like before the rape.(108) A prosecutor in Moscow told Human Rights Watch that if the defendant alleges that the rape victim was a "loose" woman, prosecutors feel compelled to call witnesses to discuss the personal characteristics of the victim, thus exposing her private life to public scrutiny.(109)

Second, the investigative process often unnecessarily informs numerous outside parties that the victim was raped. Women's rights activists, for example, told us that investigators will require someone at the victim's workplace or school to write a letter of reference.(110) In one case in Moscow, investigators requested a letter vouching for a woman's character from her workplace even though she alleged that she had been raped at work. After receiving the letter, the investigators became reluctant to continue because the letter from work said the victim had a drinking problem, among other things.(111) A prosecutor from a St. Petersburg suburb asserted that "we must learn more about the personality of the victim by interviewing her and maybe her neighbors. We talk to people who know about the person regardless of whether they know about the rape."(112) Judge Orlov told us that although criminal procedure requires investigation to be confidential, when the investigator interviews persons, they usually learn about the rape.(113)

Those suspected of having mental illness or sexually transmitted diseases are particularly at risk that their right to privacy will be violated. In addition to conducting general third-party interviews, investigators may also require clinics that provide psychological counseling or treatment for sexually transmitted diseases to inform them whether or not the complainant is registered.(114) An official at a Murmansk AIDS clinic confirmed that investigators could attain such information from his clinic, as long as the information is deemed by an investigator or judge as necessary to the case and is to be used only as evidence for that case.(115)

As a result of these broad inquiries into the complainants' background and sexual history, many families discourage their daughters, wives, or girlfriends from reporting rape. Many are ashamed to have people know about the attack and do not want their loved ones subjected to additional trauma. Olga Shestakova, who works with minors who have been sexually assaulted, told Human Rights Watch of a client who had been raped. First, the investigator demanded a note from the girl's school describing her behavior; in the request they told the school that she had been raped. The investigators then stated that they needed a paper describing the neighbors' impressions of the girl. The parents consequently with drew the complaint.(116) Karimova told us that a woman dropped her case after investigators visited her school several times. According to Karimova, the woman told her, "It is a shame for me. I cannot bear the pressure."(117) Based on our interviews with other victims, their fears were probably well-founded. For example, N.V., a fourteen-year-old victim of rape whose case is described above, told us, "It is very difficult at school. Some of my friends protect me and don't let the others hurt me. But all the people at school know."(118)

Biased Use of Psychological Interviews

Articles 78 and 79 of the Russian code of criminal procedure allow an expert opinion to establish the psychological state of the victim when there is doubt about her ability to understand the circumstances that are significant to her case and to give appropriate testimony.(119) In rape cases, this article is invoked to require victims to undergo psychological interviews so as to determine whether, inter alia, she was unable to defend herself from attack, or whether she was prone to "imagine" things, including the attack. While in certain cases psychological interviews can be an important tool in explaining how and if crimes occurred, in Russia it is primarily rape victims who are required to defend their actions and the veracity of their allegations through a psychological assessment. Although the use of psychological interviews is not limited to sexual assault cases,(120) Lyudmilla Konyesheva, a forensic psychologist in Moscow who has done about fifty psychological interviews, told us that 60 to 70 percent of the psychological interviews she conducted were with victims of sexual violence.(121)

The prevalence of psychological interviews in cases of sexual violence suggests that the mental fitness or stability of sexual violence victims is questioned, or viewed as suspect, in a ways that do not apply for other crimes. Based on the descriptions of the role of the interview by forensic psychologists and prosecutors, the interviews are employed to determine whether the woman was imagining or fabricating the assault. According to Yelena Makhmutova, a forensic psychologist in Bashkiria located in southeastern Russia, sometimes "the interview offers clues as to what actually happened, by looking at the mind of the victim."(122) A prosecutor in Murmansk, Valentina Abanicha, told us that she sometimes refers women reporting rape to psychological interviews to ensure that their testimony is not a "fantasy."(123) She also told us that she sometimes used the psychological interview to determine how to evaluate victim's testimony on the basis of mental competency: the interviews help her to determine if "she [the victim] is the kind of child who tells the truth."(124) Although it is always possible that an individual has invented or embellished on an attack, the widespread use of the interviews suggests that there may be an unwarranted presumption that women alleging assaults are lying or are mentally ill.

Since the late 1980s, accused rapists have also been subjected to psychological interviews.(125) Based on the statements of one forensic psychologist, it appears that these interviews are not simply used to determine the psychological state of the accused but, surprisingly, to shed light on the psychological state of the victim as well. According to Yelena Makhmutova, psychologists interview the accused to see if he could assess the mental state of the woman: "We want to know if he could tell whether the woman was scared to death or if he was oblivious."(126) The ability of the defendant to discern so, according to Makhmutova, provides guidance as to whether the victim was inclined to fantasize.(127)

In undergoing psychological interviews, the victim may appeal to have a lawyer present; should the investigator decline the appeal, the victim can appeal the investigator's decision. This presents an additional burden to the victim which could deter her from requesting a lawyer. The problem with this inheres in the fact that information gleaned in this setting can be used to discredit the victim as a witness and can lead a prosecutor to drop her complaint. Whether or not the interview will be used in a fair or discriminatory manner will depend largely upon the psychologist. Konyesheva told us, for example, "I never did an interview when I could not offer a reason why she did not resist."(128) Because the interview may have an unfair, devastating effect on the outcome of the victim's complaint, the absence of an attorney or advocate may impinge on the victim's ability to seek justice.

Finally, although these interviews are often the only contact a victim has with a "counselor," they rarely involve any counseling for the emotional trauma of rape, nor are they intended to. The absence of counseling is particularly severe because victims, who are often already vulnerable and in need of counseling, are more likely to believe, based upon the questioning during the interview, that they are to blame for the attack. According to Makhmutova, she sees the victim only once, and she is usually the only psychologist or counselor that the victim will see. Makhmutova told Human Rights Watch that she would like to be able to refer victims of sexual violence to crisis centers from which they could receive comprehensive services and counseling.(129) In fact, such referral is required by the U.N. Declaration of Basic Principles of Justice for Victims of Crime and Abuse of Power, adopted by the U.N. General Assembly in 1985.(130) Unfortunately, Russian officials rarely make such referrals. To provide that service, Makhmutova makes the last part of the interview therapeutic even though that is not required by law. According to her, "As a human being and a psychologist, I cannot just close my book and say you must go."(131)

Traumatizing Use of Face-to-face Confrontations

Under Article 162 of the Russian code of criminal procedure, crime victims may be required to recount their story in front of the defendant(s) if their testimony contradicts that of the defendant(s).(132) In rape cases, an investigator may use Article 162 in any case in which the victim's story contradicts that of the accused in order to evaluate the comparative credibility of the parties. The procedure for the confrontation, as set forth in Article 163, requires both the complainant and defendant to sign a statement saying that they will tell the truth. The complainant, who is not accompanied by a relative or parents unless she is a minor, is asked whether she knows the defendant and to describe the circumstances under which she knows him. After she speaks, the investigator asks the defendant to confirm or deny her story. The prosecutors question both parties, in their presence, to analyze the differences in their stories. The parties can also ask questions.

While the criminal procedure code allows for the defendant to be accompanied by an attorney, no provision is made, either in law or in practice, for the protection of victims, such as permitting an advocate, counselor or family member to be present. Because these confrontations are fraught with stress for victims, the confrontation itself, rather than the victim's conscience or conviction, may impact the victim's demeanor or retelling of the assault. It is quite possible, for example, that influences on a victim's demeanor could be the result of rape trauma syndrome, a variation of post-traumatic stress disorder.(133) If the criminal procedure code continues to allow the use of this investigative technique in rape cases, it must permit women to have a therapist or nonlegal advocate present and must train prosecutors in the symptoms and results of post-traumatic stress disorder to ensure that the women do not suffer additional shock and that any side effects of their emotional trauma do not harm the criminal case.

Since the confrontation occurs so late in the investigative process and very few cases make it past the earlier obstacles to reach that stage, we spoke with only one woman who had undergone a confrontation. This case illustrates the danger of repeat confrontations for victims of gang rape. Z.T., a fifteen-year-old victim of gang rape, had to confront all ten defendants. Only in one instance, when the defendant was over twenty-one years old, was Z.T. allowed to have her mother in the room. According to Z.T., during these face-to-face confrontations, the defendants all recounted different stories.(134) Some said that the sexual contact was consensual, others said that she suggested it, and some said that they had never seen her. Z.T. told Human Rights Watch that despite the fact that the defendants all told different versions of the attack, the prosecutor indicated that she did not believe Z.T.'s testimony. The case was subsequently closed.

Failure to Protect Complainants

Almost all the activists we spoke to told us that victims do not feel safe during the investigative process. All but one of the rape victims we interviewed reported that defendants and their families or friends harassed, threatened, or attempted to bribe them in order to stop them from pursuing rape charges and that these actions occurred with the knowledge and, at times, complicity of the investigators. All of the women's rights activists with whom we spoke confirmed that almost all rape complainants reported such harassment and bribes to them. In no case they cited, however, did Russian law enforcement respond to the complainants' call for help. While law enforcement agents do not deny the allegations of harassment, and in particular bribery, they contest women's charges that police failure to protect complainants leads them to drop the charges. Rather, police claim that women accept the bribes and then drop the charges.(135) Reportedly, defendants also threaten and bribe government investigators.(136)

Numerous instances were reported to us where law enforcement officials failed to take action to protect complainants. The case of N.V., the fourteen-year-old girl raped near Moscow in 1994 discussed above, and her mother, Y.V., provides a chilling example of the severe harassment by alleged offenders and the gross indifference of law enforcement officials. According to Y.V., after N.V. filed her complaint, the police provided the defendant with the victim's address and notice that she had reported a rape. Two men, the rapist and a friend, then came to their house and broke the door down.(137) N.V. escaped through the window and ran to a police station nearby, while the two men beat Y.V., ripped her clothes, and threatened to rape her and to rape her daughter again. They also threatened to shoot Y.V. if she did not give her daughter to them. After the attack, Y.V. went to the investigator and requested a forensic medical exam in order to pursue charges for the assault.(138) The investigator questioned Y.V. but did not refer her for an exam or test the blood stains on her jacket. When Y.V. inquired about the status of her report, the investigator claimed that Y.V. had never filed a report about the assault. Since Y.V. did not have the report number, she could not prove that she had. The police never took any action. The harassment reportedly continued to occur almost nightly after eleven o'clock until the accused went into the army at the end of 1995. As of April 1996, it happened intermittently, when his friends were drunk. The accused also visited N.V.'s house three times to ask her forgiveness and that she withdraw her report. He also offered money, which N.V. refused.

Nina Vinogradova, a counselor at the Nizhni Tagil Crisis Center, told Human Rights Watch of another case illustrating law enforcement's refusal to protect complainants.(139) After a twenty-three-year-old woman who was raped by three men in 1995 reported the rape and had corroborating medical evidence collected, one man was arrested. Soon thereafter, someone set the victim's apartment on fire, and the defendant's relatives began to threaten her. She reported the threats to the police several times, but the police told her that the fire was an accident and took no measures to investigate or prevent the threats. Her relatives asked her to withdraw her report to protect herself, but she did not. The arrested man was convicted, and the other two were never found.

Because of the failure by law enforcement to respond to such harassment, sometimes women become intimidated and actually withdraw their complaints. In one case in 1994, for example, a seventeen-year-old girl who was gang-raped in Sergeyev Posad and her family were threatened while she was hospitalized after the attack.(140) The accused told the girl's mother that if the girl did not retract her report, she would not survive. The accused and his friends also threw stones at the girl's windows and screamed at her house. The family withdrew the complaint a week after filing it. The girl has permanent gynecological injuries resulting from the rape, has had subsequent infections, and has been reportedly told by doctors that she will be unable to bear children.(141) In another case, after a twenty-three-year-old woman in Moscow reported her gang rape to the police, the accused rapists came to her house to offer her money.(142) The defendants said that the investigators had told them everything, and then said to her, "You agreed to go with us on a camping trip. We will make it known to the whole town and college and you will be ashamed." When her mother reported the incident, the investigators said that they had sent the defendants to the house in order to settle the case "peacefully." The defendants continued to visit the victim's home to offer money and threatened to rape her younger sister. As a result of delays in receiving her forensic exam, partially caused by the investigators, the victim's exam was incomplete, and the investigators closed her case. She made no effort to reopen it. According to Lola Karimova, who counseled this woman at Syostri in Moscow, the woman told her, "It is a shame for me. I cannot bear the pressure. I do not want all my friends to know about this."

We also heard allegations that bribes and suspected bribes to investigators led to cases being closed. Y.V. believed that the delays in her daughter's case resulted from the investigator being bribed by the defendant's family.(143) Z.T.'s case was closed twice; she suspects the prosecutors were bribed. Pomomava told Human Rights Watch that it was common for defendants or their relatives to threaten or bribe investigators.(144)

In an attempt to provide better protection to crime victims and witnesses, the State Duma adopted in May 1997 the State Protection of Victims and Other Individuals Cooperating with Court Proceedings.(145) It remains to be seen, however, whether this law will be applied solely to high-profile organized crime cases or also to women reporting violence and other crime victims.


Closing of Cases Prior to Trial

My mother believes in justice, I can't believe how naive she is. I used to believe in justice. When I first went to the police station, I thought they would believe me. I wouldn't advise a friend to go to the police because of my experience--the case was closed and nothing helped.

-Z.T., Moscow, May 12, 1996

Despite the flaws in the investigative process and the difficulty in proving rape, all the municipalities with whose officials we spoke reported perfect or near-perfect conviction rates. Normally, high conviction rates suggest diligent investigations and prosecutions. Yet perfect rates, particularly where there is ample evidence of inadequate investigations, tell another story: that prosecutors are only taking foolproof cases to trial.(146) This practice suggests that many cases that are meritorious but difficult to prove are being dropped and that many victims with legitimate cases are thus denied the opportunity to have their assailants brought to justice.

Law enforcement officials in Murmansk and St. Petersburg confirmed that, at a minimum, half of the reports accepted by the police never make it through the investigative process. Nikolaeva admitted that 50 percent of the reports of sexual assault filed with the police were not pursued or investigated by police or prosecutors.(147) According to two prosecutors in Murmansk, as a rule they close more than 50 percent of cases of sexual violence.(148)

Human Rights Watch obtained statistics on the outcome of sexual assault cases that were officially registered in three municipalities--Krasnoselsk region (a suburb of St. Petersburg), St. Petersburg, and Murmansk. In each of these regions, the conviction rates for sexual assault cases were perfect or near-perfect, except for the cases in which they could not locate the defendant. In the Krasnosels region, prosecutors told us that of seven rape reports in 1995, four resulted in conviction. In the other three cases, investigators were unable to locate the accused.(149) According to a prosecutor from St. Petersburg, out of 275 rape cases started there in 1995, one hundred ended with convictions.(150) The accused was not found in the other 175 cases. In Murmansk, forty-five rapes were officially registered in 1995; in thirty-eight cases the defendants were found guilty. Again, in the seven remaining cases, the defendants were never located.(151)

When asked to explain their conviction rates, police and prosecutors usually told us they had closed all the cases that were not rape. According to Yelena Kraskova, a police officer in Murmansk, all forty-five registered rapes were "clear" rapes. A police officer from Saratov who had investigated more than 200 rape cases, including many that were never officially registered, told us that even when reports of rape were accepted it was common for them to be closed for lack of evidence.(152) She also told us that all of the cases she brought to court resulted in convictions.

1. Article 131 of the code provides:

1. Rape, that is sexual intercourse through the use of force, or through the threat of its use toward the victim or to other persons, or through taking advantage of the helpless state of the victim, is punished by three to six years deprivation of freedom.

2. Rape:
a) committed repeatedly or by an individual who previously committed violent acts of a sexual nature,
b) committed by a group of individuals, a group of individuals under a premeditated plan or organized by a group,
c) accompanied by the threat of murder or causing grievous harm to health, and also committed with special cruelty in relation to the victim or other persons,
d) inflicting the victim with infection of venereal diseases
e) of a known minor

is punished by four to ten years deprivation of freedom.

3. Rape:
a) causing the unintended death of the victim
b) causing the unintended grievous harm to the health of the victim, infecting her with HIV or other serious consequences
c) of a victim who is known to not have reached fourteen years of age,

is punished by eight to fifteen years deprivation of freedom.

2. Art. 132.

3. Interview, Tatyana Nikolaeva, prosecutor, St. Petersburg, April 30, 1996.

4. Art. 133.

5. Article 133 provides that coercion in acts of a sexual nature "is punished by a fine of 200 to 300 minimal monthly salaries of the amount of one to three months of the convicted person's monthly salary or other income, or corrective labor for up to two years, or deprivation of freedom for up to one year."

6. Art. 115.

7. Art. 116.

8. Art. 113.

9. Interview, Marina Liboraikina, Information Center, Women's Independent Forum, Moscow, May 8, 1997.

10. Interview, Lyudmilla Zavadskaya, Moscow, April 24, 1996.

11. Interview, Marina Liboraikina, Women's Information Center, Moscow, May 8, 1997.

12. Statements made at the Russian Association of Crisis Centers Conference, Pushkin, April 27-28, 1996.

13. Interview, Genine Babakian journalist, Moscow, April 26, 1996.

14. Interview, Galina Sillaste, consultant, Moscow, April 25, 1996.

15. For example, Olga Samarina, head of the Department on Women of the Ministry of Labor and Social Protection, mentioned both Syostri and the Moscow Crisis Center for Women as good organizations to which she would refer women. Interview, Olga Samarina, Moscow, May 8, 1996.

16. Interview, Natalya Khodireva, general director, Psychological Crisis Center for Women, St. Petersburg, April 30, 1996.

17. Interview, Yelena Kraskova, police major, Murmansk, May 3, 1996.

18. Interview, Natalia Averina, police officer, Moscow, April 23, 1996.

19. Interview, Victor Sukharinov, prosecutor, Krasnosels region, April 30, 1996.

20. Interview, Yelena Stepanova, deputy prosecutor, Krasnosels region, April 30, 1996.

21. Interview, Tatyana Nikolaeva, chief prosecutor, St. Petersburg, April 30, 1996.

22. Interview, Valentina Abanicha, prosecutor, Murmansk, May 5, 1996.

23. Interview, Margarita Paniflova, prosecutor, Moscow, April 26, 1996.

24. Interview, Boris Orlov, regional court judge, Murmansk, May 6, 1996.

25. V.D. Gennadiyev, Defending Sex Crime Cases: Methodological Handbook for Defense Attorneys (Leningrad: Leningrad Public Scientific - Research Institute for Court Defense, 1977), p. 12.

26. Ibid, p. 13.

27. Ibid, p.13.

28. "The Rape Game: According to Police Officials, the Majority of Those Convicted of Rape Are not Guilty," Argument I Fakti [Arguments and Facts] (Moscow), February 6, 1996.

29. Interview, Lola Karimova, volunteer gynecologist, "Syostri" Moscow Sexual Assault Recovery Center, Moscow, April 22, 1996.

30. Interview, Alexander Shestakov, Nizhni Tagil, May 8, 1996.

31. Interview, Natalia Averina, police officer, Moscow, April 23, 1996.

32. Interview, Zoya Khotkina, senior researcher, Moscow Center for Gender Studies, Moscow, April 25, 1996.

33. Interview, Natalia Gaidarenko, executive director, "Syostri" Moscow Sexual Assault Recovery Center, Moscow, April 22, 1996.

34. Interview, Lyudmilla Pomomava, police officer, Pushkin, April 27, 1996.

35. Interview, M.P., Moscow, April 27, 1996.

36. Interview, Nina Vinogradova, Nizhni Tagil Center "Lana," Nizhni Tagil, May 8, 1996.

37. Interview, Lyudmilla Pomomova, police officer, Pushkin, April 27, 1996.

38. Interview, Tatyana Lipovskaya, deputy director, Syostri, Moscow, April 23, 1996.

39. Interview, Olga Shestakova, director, Social Psychological Support Center for Young Girls, Nizhni Tagil, May 7, 1996.

40. Interview, Zoya Khotkina, Moscow Center for Gender Studies, Moscow, April 25, 1996.

41. Interview, Natalia Gaidarenko, former director, Syostri, April 22, 1996.

42. Interview, Z.T., Moscow, May 13, 1996.

43. Interview, Svetlana Gibatinova, Nizhni Tagil Center "Lana," Nizhni Tagil, May 7, 1996.

44. Interview, Irina Anpryevna, pediatric gynecologist, Murmansk, May 6, 1996.

45. Interview, M.P., Moscow, April 27, 1996.

46. The chief questioned I.P. in detail and wrote a formal complaint ("protocol"). He also accompanied I.P. to her home to question her communal apartment neighbor whom I.P. believed had hired the man to rape her, but the neighbor was not at home.

47. In some cases of major injuries, such as external bruising, it may in fact be more difficult to evaluate immediately after inflicted than several hours later.

48. Interview, Larissa Romanova, forensic gynecologist, Moscow, April 24, 1996; interview, Yuri Solsov, forensic doctor, Moscow, April 25, 1996. However, one high-ranking police officer, Natalia Averina, stated that a woman could be examined at the evidence center without an official referral, but that it would go faster if she had a referral. Averina also suggested that a woman could write a fake referral. She also believed that it would be quite easy for a woman to go to a police station, report her rape, and immediately get an official referral to the evidence center. Interview, Natalia Averina, police officer, Moscow, April 23, 1996.

49. Interview, Y.V., Sergeyev Posad, April 26, 1996.

50. Interview, Tatyana Bogoliubova, Institute of the General Prosecutor's Office for Strengthening Law and Order, April 24, 1996.

51. In addition, based upon our interviews, it appears that proper police protocol would include a police officer escorting the complainant to the evidence center. No one we interviewed was able to give us an actual example of this occurring. Larissa Romanova did note that sometimes the police will escort the woman to the evidence center. Interview, Larissa Romanova, forensic gynecologist, Moscow, April 24, 1996.

52. Ibid.

53. Interview, M.P., Moscow, April 27, 1996.

54. Interview, Lola Karimova, Syostri, Moscow, April 22, 1996.

55. Ibid.

56. Interview, Natalia Gaidarenko, Syostri, Moscow, April 22, 1996.

57. Interview, Z.T., Moscow, May 12, 1996.

58. The evidence center in Nizhni Tagil also serves as the morgue for all of Nizhni Tagil. Women seeking sexual assault examinations can enter the back door to avoid the dead bodies, but the smell of formaldehyde pervades the building as a reminder of its primary function.

59. Interview, Larissa Romanova, forensic gynecologist, Moscow, April 24, 1996.

60. Ibid.

61. Interview, Natalia Gaidarenko, Syostri, April 22, 1996.

62. Interview, Larissa Romanova, forensic gynecologist, Moscow, April 24, 1996.

63. Ibid.

64. Interview, Yuri Solsov, chief forensic doctor, Moscow, April, 1996.

65. Interview, Larissa Romanova, forensic gynecologist, Moscow, April 24, 1996.

66. Interview, Natalia Averina, police officer, Moscow, April 23, 1996. For a study of public attitudes toward the criminal justice system, see Inga Mikhailova Borisova, Crime: What We Know About It; Police: What We Think About Them," (Moscow: Human Rights Project Group, 1995).

67. Interview, Lola Karimova, Moscow, April 21, 1996.

68. Interview, Larissa Korneva, Psychological Crisis Center for Women, St. Petersburg, April 29, 1996.

69. Interview, Lola Karimova, Syostri, Moscow, April 22, 1996.

70. Lee Madigan, The Second Rape (New York: Lexington Books, 1991), p. 85.

71. Ibid., pp. 85-86.

72. William M. Green, Rape: The Evidential Examination and Management of the Adult Female Victim (Massachusetts: Lexington Books, 1988), p. 48.

73. Ibid., pp. 54-56. Such evidence includes the date of last menstrual period, any recent gynecological surgery, and any consensual sexual intercourse within seventy-two hours of the assault.

74. Interview, Natalia Averina, police officer, Moscow, April 23, 1996.

75. Larissa Romanova, a forensic gynecologist at the evidence center in Moscow, told Human Rights Watch that prior to conducting an examination she does question the victim about the circumstances of the rape to learn what kind of intercourse occurred and how injuries were inflicted so that she can tailor the exam. Interview, Larissa Romanova, forensic gynecologist, Moscow, April 24, 1996. Yuri Solsov, of the Moscow evidence center, also stated that he would ask questions that were not supplied if the examination suggested it. Interview, Yuri Solsov, head doctor, Moscow Forensic Evidence Center, Moscow, April 25, 1996.

76. Interview, Larissa Romanova, forensic gynecologist, Moscow, April 24, 1996. Dr. Yuri Solsov also reported that he followed this procedure. Interview, Yuri Solsov, Moscow, April 25, 1996.

77. According to Dr. Greg Larkin, director of research, American College of Emergency Physicians, an expert in the field of forensic documentation of intimate partner abuse, there is no reliable test for virginity. Hymens can be torn by many other common activities, and the presence of an intact hymen does not signify abstention from sexual intercourse. Human Rights Watch telephone interview, Pittsburgh, June 26, 1997.

78. In most jurisdictions, the primary job of the forensic doctor is the performance of autopsies.

79. Interview, Lola Karimova, Syostri, April 22, 1996.

80. Ibid.

81. Ibid.

82. Interview, Svetlana Gibatdinova, Nizhni Tagil Center "Lana," Nizhni Tagil, May 7, 1996.

83. Interview, Larissa Romanova, forensic gynecologist, Moscow, April 24, 1996.

84. Interview, Lola Karimova, Syostri, April 22, 1996.

85. Ibid.

86. The impact of this inaction is particularly severe in Russia because the quality and availability of gynecological care are quite limited in Russia, and women thus often approach such examinations with fear and trepidation. Interview, Natasha Khodireva, St. Petersburg, April 30, 1996; interview, Svetlana Gibatinov, May 7, 1996.

87. Interview, Larissa Romanova, forensic gynecologist, Moscow, April 24, 1996.

88. Dr. Romanova, for example, told us that she routinely refers women for tests for sexually transmitted diseases. Ibid.

89. Larissa Romanova, Presentation, Nurses Conference on Treating Victims of Violence, forensic gynecologist, Moscow, April 24, 1996; interview, Tatyana Bogoliubova, Institute for Strengthening Law and Order of the General Prosecutor's office, April 24, 1996; interview, Natalya Khodireva, Psychological Crisis Center for Women, April 30, 1996; interview, Lola Karimova, Syostri, Moscow, April 22, 1996.

90. Larissa Romanova, Presentation, Nurses Conference on Treating Victims of Violence, Moscow, April 24, 1996; interview, Tatyana Bogoliubova, Institute for Strengthening Law and Order of the General Prosecutor's office, April 24, 1996; interview, Lola Karimova, Syostri, Moscow, April 22, 1996.

91. Interview, Svetlana Gibatdinova, Nizhni Tagil Center "Lana," Nizhni Tagil, May 8, 1996.

92. The majority of cases that are closed at the preliminary investigation stage are rape cases. The reason for this, a researcher at the Institute for Strengthening Law and Order of the General Prosecutor's Office in Moscow explained, is that the preliminary investigations focus on overt signs of violence and testimony of witnesses, both of which tend to be absent or unavailable in cases of sexual violence. Interview, Tatyana Bogoliubova, Institute for Strengthening Law and Order of the General Prosecutor's office, April 24, 1996.

93. Interview, Tatyana Nikolaeva, prosecutor, St. Petersburg, April 30, 1996.

94. Interview, Y.V., Sergeyev Posad, April 26, 1996.

95. Interview, Zoya Khotkina, Moscow Center for Gender Studies, April 25, 1996.

96. Interview, Nina Vinogradova, Nizhni Tagil Center "Lana," May 7, 1996.

97. Interview, Z.T., Moscow, May 12, 1996.

98. Interview, M.P., Moscow, April 27, 1996.

99. Art. 17, ICCPR.

100. General Comment 16 to Article 17, "Compilation of General Comments and General Recommendations Adopted by Human Rights Treaty Bodies," U.N. Document HRI/GEN/Rev.1, July 29, 1994.

101. Ibid.

102. Ibid.

103. Declaration of Basic Principles of Justice for Victims of Crime and Abuse of Power, Adopted by U.N. General Assembly on November 29, 1985.

104. Ibid., Principle 6.

105. Guidelines on the Role of Prosecutors, Adopted by the Eighth U.N. Congress on the Prevention of Crime and Treatment of Offenders, August 27 - September 7, 1990, Guideline 13(c).

106. Code of Conduct for Law Enforcement Officers, Adopted by the U.N. General Assembly on December 17, 1979, Art. 4. The commentary accompanying this article explains:

By the nature of their duties, law enforcement officials obtain information which may relate to private lives or be potentially harmful to the interests, and especially the reputation, of others. Great care should be exercised in safeguarding and using such information, which should be disclosed only in the performance of duty or to serve the needs of justice.

107. In some countries, including the U.S. and Canada, rape statutes have been reformed to protect rape victims from discriminatory and abusive cross-examination during the investigation and prosecution of rape charges by limiting what evidence can be used. Previously, there were few limits on what constitutes relevant evidence to be used in a rape defense. Most defenses centered around attacks on the victim's reputation and prior sexual conduct, thereby focusing on the victim's perceived morality. The reforms, now known as rape shield laws, are based on the recognition that such evidence and inquiry during the prosecution of rape charges was often prejudicial against the victim, leading to a low rate of conviction and also acting as a deterrent to the reporting and prosecution of rape. Although the rape shield laws vary from state to state, one common component is a rejection of the previously automatic admissibility of proof of the victim's sexual activity or perceived immodesty. The defense's ability to present, for example, the victim's sexual history, appearance or dress, level of resistence, and previous interactions with the defendent to discount her claim of rape has been limited, and the focus of rape trials has shifted away from judgements of the victim's sexuality. For a general discussion and analysis of rape shield laws in the U.S., see Harriett R. Galvin, "Shielding Rape Victims in the State and Federal Courts: A Proposal for the Second Decade," Minnesota Law Review, vol. 70. (April 1986), pp. 763.

108. Interview, Boris Orlov, regional court judge, Murmansk, May 6, 1996.

109. Interview, Moscow, April 1996.

110. Interview, Natalia Gaidarenko, Syostri, Moscow, April 22, 1996; interview, Tatyana Lipovskaya, Syostri, Moscow, April 23, 1996; interview, Larissa Korneva, St. Petersburg Crisis Center for Women, St. Petersburg, April 29, 1996; interview, Olga Shestakova, Nizhni Tagil, May 8, 1996.

111. Interview, Zoya Khotkina, Moscow Center for Gender Studies, Moscow, April 24, 1996.

112. Interview, Victor Sukharinov, prosecutor, Krasnosels region, April 30, 1996.

113. Interview, Boris Orlov, regional court judge, Murmansk, May 6, 1996.

114. Ibid.

115. Interview, Murmansk, May 6, 1996. It should be noted here that if a rapist infects a victim with a sexually transmitted disease he faces an additional penalty.

116. Interview, Olga Shestakova, Nizhni Tagil, May 7, 1996.

117. Interview, Lola Karimova, Syostri, Moscow, April 22, 1996.

118. Interview, N.V., Sergeyev Posad, April 26, 1996.

119. Interview, Yelena Makhmutova, lecturer, psychology, Bashkir Academy of State Service and Management, Moscow, April 20, 1996.

120. Ibid.

121. Interview, Lyudmilla Konyesheva, forensic psychologist, Moscow, April 25, 1996. Yelena Makhmutova, another forensic psychologist in a different region, provided the same percentage. Interview, Yelena Makhmutova, Bashkir Academy of State Service and Management, Moscow, April 20, 1996.

122. Interview, Yelena Makhmutova, Bashkir Academy of State Service and Management, Moscow, April 20, 1996.

123. Interview, Valentina Abanicha, prosecutor, Murmansk, May 5, 1996.

124. Ibid.

125. Russian Criminal Code Art. 79(2).

126. Interview, Yelena Makhmutova, Bashkir Academy of State Service and Management, April 20, 1996.

127. Ibid.

128. Interview, Lyudmilla Konyesheva, forensic psychologist, Moscow, April 25, 1996.

129. Interview, Yelena Makhmutova, forensic psychologist, Moscow, April 20, 1996.

130. Principle 14 provides, "Victims should receive the necessary material, medical, psychological and social assistance through governmental, voluntary, community-based and indigenous means." Principle 15 provides, "Victims should be informed of the availability of health and social services and other relevant assistance and be readily afforded access to them." Declaration of Basic Principles of Justice for Victims of Crime and Abuse of Power, Principles 14 and 15.

131. Makhmutova works in Bashkiria, which does not have a crisis center. Interview, Yelena Makhmutova, forensic psychologist, April 20, 1996.

132. Article 162 provides, "An investigator may conduct a confrontation between two persons who have already been questioned and whose testimony is seriously contradictory."

133. According to one article, "Victims also may demonstrate a wide range of emotions in one of two 'styles,' expressed or controlled. A victim with an expressed style would express her feelings of fear, anger and anxiety by crying, sobbing, smiling or acting restless or tense. A victim with a controlled style would hide her feelings and appear calm." Toni M. Masaro, "Experts, Psychology, Credibility and Rape: The Rape Trauma Syndrome Issue and Its Implications for Expert Psychological Testing," Minnesota Law Review 69 (February 1985): 425.

134. Interview, Z.T., Moscow, May 12, 1996.

135. Interview, Tatyana Nicolaeva, prosecutor, St. Petersburg, April 30, 1996.

136. Nick Allen, "Thousands of Shady Police Fired in Cleanup," Moscow Times, May 30, 1997; interview, Lyudmilla Pomomava, police officer, Pushkin, April 27, 1996.

137. Interview, Y.V., Sergeyev Posad, April 26, 1996.

138. Ibid.

139. Interview, Nina Vinogradova, Nizhni Tagil Center "Lana", Nizhni Tagil, May 8, 1996.

140. Interview, family center staff, Sergeyev Posad, April 26, 1996.

141. Ibid.

142. Interview, Lola Karimova, Syostri, April 22, 1996.

143. According to Y.V., the town is very small and several neighbors reported this to her. Interview, Y.V., Sergeyev Posad, April 26, 1996.

144. Interview, Lyudmilla Pomomava, police officer, Pushkin, April 27, 1996.

145. This law has been hailed as the "first in Russian legal practice to introduce norms that envisage security measures to protect individuals [requiring such protection], including unpublished information about them, providing them personal guards, guards for their residence and property, new documents, and assistance in moving to a new residence, . . ." Segodnya (Today) (Moscow), May 15, 1997.

146. According to Nikolai Panshev, former chief investigator in the internal affairs department of the Moscow police, "Many crimes do not get reported in Russia because the police don't report them. Not reporting crime has historically been a way of keeping the official crime rates down and the crime-solving rate up. Usually when investigators do this, it's a way of avoiding being responsible for unsolvable case." Matt Taibbi, "Top Cop: Crime Stats Lower than True Rates," Moscow Times, April 16, 1996.

147. Interview, Tatyana Nikolaeva, prosecutor, St. Petersburg, April 30, 1996.

148. Interview, Valentina Abanicha, prosecutor, Murmansk, May 5, 1996.

149. Interview, Victor Sukharinov, prosecutor, Krasnosels region, April 30, 1996.

150. Interview, Tatyana Nikolaeva, St. Petersburg, April 30, 1996. As of 1994, the population of St. Petersburg was 4,883,000. "Rossiya v Tsifrakh (Russia in Statistics)," Goskomstat, 1995.

151. Interview, Yelena Kraskova, police officer, Murmansk, May 3, 1996. Murmansk's population in 1994 was 440,000. "Rossiya v Tsifrakh (Russia in Statistics)," Goskomstat, 1995.

152. Interview, Lyudmilla Pomomava, police officer, Pushkin, April 27, 1996.