MOSCOW, March 7 (RIA Novosti) – Foreigners found guilty of sexually harassing women in Russia could soon face deportation under new rules being considered in parliament, a lawmaker said Friday.
Any foreigner “attempting to establish intimate contact,” “request sexual favors” or even “court” a Russian woman against her will would be eligible for the punishment, under the terms of the draft bill.
Foreigners would also be subject to a 50,000 ruble fine ($1,300), as well as up to 120 hours of community service.
The bill was introduced to parliament just ahead of International Women’s Day, which is celebrated Saturday.
But the proposed legislation does not affect only foreigners.
Russians found guilty of sexual harassment would face the same fine, as well as community service, though they would presumably be allowed to remain in the country.
A repeat offender would face a 100,000 ruble fine and up to 200 hours of community service.
Oleg Nilov, a member of the pro-Kremlin leftist party A Just Russia who submitted the bill, told RIA Novosti that the law would be “far from a symbolic step, but a real and effective measure to reduce crime that violates women’s rights.”
Combating sexual harassment in Russia could face an uphill climb against deep-seated, patriarchal views, however.
In 2008, a judge in the northern city of St. Petersburg dismissed a sexual harassment case filed by a 22-year-old woman against a work superior twice her age on the grounds that such conduct was a basic requirement for the survival of the human species.
“If we had no sexual harassment, we would have no children,” the judge is quoted as having said at the time by British newspaper The Daily Telegraph.