Chechen Republic’s Authorities Introduce New Measures to Prevent Bride Kidnapping

Russia’s southern republic of Chechnya has introduced new measures to discourage the practice of bride-stealing, in which women are abducted off the street and forced to marry their kidnapper. The kidnappings are rarely reported to police, instead the families of the women turn to a local imam for help. The women often do not know their abductors, and have no say in their marriage negotiations.   

 

President Ramzan Kadyrov stated that bride abductions are 'un-Islamic', following a meeting with Chechnya’s religious leaders. Mullahs responsible for negotiating marriages of kidnapped women risk punishment and excommunication, according to the new measures introduced by authorities. Furthermore, the financial penalty kidnappers must pay the woman’s family has also increased from thirty thousand roubles (approx. $980) to one million roubles (approx. $33,000).       

 

Lipkhan Bazaeva, head of the Women’s Dignity Centre in the Chechen capital, Grozny, educates teenagers about bride-stealing. She believes a more effective measure would be for authorities to put into practice existing Russian laws that punish kidnapping with up to nine years in prison.

 

One in five brides has been kidnapped, according to a survey Bazaeva conducted. The kidnappings can result in dangerous blood feuds between families. Bazaeva believes the instability caused by the Chechen Republic’s two independence wars against Russia has increased bride kidnappings in recent years. 

 

Compiled from: Lucy Ash, Can Chechen President Kadyrov stamp out bride-stealing?BBC, (8 October 2010).