Anti-War Civic Mobilization in Russia

The response of Russian civil society to the war in Ukraine.

Research project 2021


The main purpose of the project is the cross-border exchange of professional experience in helping the victims of domestic violence in the United States and Russia. Another purpose of the project is to get acquainted with the existing infrastructure of US organizations and institutions assisting victims of domestic violence.

While the US and Russian legal systems are structured differently, domestic violence activists in both countries share the goals of using legislation to protect victims and to provide recourse and finding multiple avenues for changing a society’s’ culture around DV. Over decades, the U.S. lawyers, activists and their institutions have (i) worked within the courts and with legislative bodies and agencies to establish laws and regulations that better protect against violence and address the needs of victims, and (ii) used these laws, high-profile cases, and the media to build a social movement against domestic violence and broader support for stronger laws and protections.

Over the past 20 years, many law schools in the USA have established legal clinics that operate free of charge and serve the public. In addition, students receive class credit for staffing the clinics. Some of these clinics specialize in domestic violence; some of them work on human rights issues broadly, and students can specialize in domestic violence cases. There are free legal clinics in Russia as well, although the ability of students to pursue socially contentious cases is limited. The project will allow Russian lawyers to compare the US legal clinics with those operating in Russia.

Below are the video clips prepared within the frame of the project


1. The first video clip is a recording of a webinar with the director and founder of the National Domestic Violence Center at The George Washington University School of Law (NFVLC) Joan S. Meyer

The mission of the National Domestic Violence Legal Center is to create the country’s first information center and university resource focused on legal responses to abuse of both adults and children.

Joan S. Meyer is a nationally recognized expert on domestic violence and the law, appellate litigation, and clinical law teaching. In her nearly 30 years at GWU, she founded three multidisciplinary domestic violence clinical programs, two of which provided legal representation, advocacy and counseling for victims of domestic violence and were recognized by the U.S. Department of Justice as National Leading Models.

In 2003, Professor Meyer founded the Domestic Violence Legal Empowerment and Appeals Project (DV LEAP), which provides free appellate representation in urgent domestic violence cases, including Supreme Court cases, and trains lawyers and courts across the country.

2. The following two videos are based on interviews with women leaders of two different types of American organizations that provide assistance to women in difficult situations.


The first organization is My Sister’s Place  in Washington DC that receives public funding. It was founded in 1979 and is one of the oldest American organizations working in this field. In addition to various types of assistance to victims of violence, much attention is paid to preparing women and their children to be able to leave the shelter and live on their own. This is the focus of original programs developed at the shelter, such as Family Rehousing, RISE and RISE Plus, which are quite unusual. Our interlocutor is Toshira Monroe, deputy director of the shelter.

The second shelter is a small non-profit organization Muslimat Al-Nisaa  in Baltimore, which exists on private donations. The organization was established in 1987 to provide women and children of Muslim communities with culturally appropriate medical, educational and social services. In 2005, co-founders Asma Hanif and Dr. Maryam Funches recognized the need to create a women’s shelter within the organization as well. Muslimat Al-Nisaa aims to provide women with housing, skills training, health care, employment assistance and counseling to promote their economic self-sufficiency. Our interviewee is Asma Hanif, co-founder and director of Muslimat Al-Nisaa