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Article

'Till Death Do Us Part’: Spousal Homicide in Early Modern Russia

The History of the Family. 2013. Vol. 18. No. 3. P. 306-330.

The history of domestic violence, let alone domestic homicide, in Russia has yet to be written. This article focuses on the legal attitudes to domestic and especially marital homicide in early modern Russia and explores types of and methods used in spousal killings. The research is based on court records in addition to laws, legal documents and other sources. Its preliminary conclusions include assumptions about scale of domestic violence, gender of perpetrators and victims, main trends in domestic homicide and their connections with available explanatory frameworks. The study reveals that Russian households were violent places accounting for different types of assaults and homicides, but in all these acts women died more frequently than men. Marital homicide occurred in all social groups in Russia. Motives and methods for marital homicides were consistent with gendered theories of power relations. Penal policies also reveal harsher treatment of women than men, pointing to the gendered definitions of power disciplining methods.