February 10, 2024

"I Breathed a Sigh of Relief"

"I Breathed a Sigh of Relief"
Illustration by Rita Cherepanova

WARNING: This article contains scenes of graphic and cruel violence. Readers who may find this disturbing should skip this article.

From the moment Russia invaded Ukraine, experts feared that the war would lead to an upsurge in domestic abuse. No precise figures are yet available (they are extremely difficult to gather and there is no reliable tracking in Russia), but there have indeed been instances of soldiers who returned home from the war and committed gruesome, and in some cases fatal, acts of domestic violence.

While the fear experts expressed is valid, there’s an unexpected twist to the situation: some Russian women have finally been freed of their abusive partners. We spoke with one such woman who recounted how her ex-husband, after being incarcerated for brutally beating her, was released ahead of time to fight in the war, and then was killed.

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