The concept of violence against women succeeded in uniting women’s activists around the world because of its breadth, covering issues from sexual and domes­tic violence to dowry murders and female genital mutilation and beyond. In the interventions into Russian gender violence politics, the issues that received the most attention were rape, sexual harassment, domestic violence, and, later, the trafficking in women for sex. These are problems that appear to be widespread, impacting in one form or another perhaps one-third of all women globally over their lifetimes, mostly perpetrated by someone known to them (UNIFEM 2003). Although the very definitions of these problems are up for debate and the Russian government collects no credible statistics, these problems appear perhaps even more severe in Russia than the global average (Johnson 2005). For example, one extensive survey found that half of married women respondents reported at least one incident of physical violence (e. g., striking, pushing, shaking, arm-twisting) from their present husbands (Gorshkova and Shurygina 2003).

no descriptive representation






no global feminism:

movement achieves no access to intervener and the intervener meets none of their intervention objectives

cooptation “global feminism”:

intervener brings feminists into the intervention process, but no desired intervention



preemption “global feminism”: intervener satisfies some global feminist intervention objectives, but does not include feminists in the intervention process

global feminist alliances:

intervener accepts feminists into the process and effects intervention in line with global feminist objectives

Source: Adapted from Research Network on Gender Politics and the State project (see Stetson 2002; Outshoorn 2004).

By looking at different types of gender violence, I can also compare the impact of different types of foreign intervention into Russia’s gender violence politics. The foreign intervention into rape and sexual harassment, more similar issues in the Russian context than in the United States, was predominantly by transna­tional feminist networks allied with human rights organizations. The interven­tion into domestic violence added foreign assistance facilitated by alliances with international donors. The United States and other Western powers intervened on the issue of trafficking in women through diplomatic pressure and threats of eco­nomic sanctions. This study focuses only on violence against adult women, re­grettably leaving out important questions about intervention and violence against girls and boys.