A prestigious St. Petersburg university has launched a center to study domestic violence in the country after one of its professors killed and dismembered his girlfriend.
Calling the project "the first of its kind in Russia," the St. Petersburg State University said on November 14 that the center would research the problem "comprehensively."
The university earlier this week fired a prominent professor, 63-year-old historian Oleg Sokolov, after he confessed to shooting and killing his 24-year-old girlfriend and former student Anastasia Yeshchenko and disposing of her body on November 9.
Yeshchenko's death caused "shock" among students and graduates, said Vladislav Shchepelkov, professor of the Department of Criminal Law and head of the research center.
"Some speakers, as well as users of social networks allow themselves unacceptable comments about the deceased. It is such a reaction of society that will silence the victims of domestic violence," he added.
According to Shchepelkov, there were more than 33,000 cases of domestic violence reported in Russia last year, based on a 4-year study he conducted and presented to the State Duma.
Russia lacks a specialized law on domestic violence, and police often don’t intervene, even in severe cases.
The university in Russia’s second largest city has come under criticism for allegedly promoting a conducive atmosphere for sexual harassment.
A petition so far has gathered nearly 80,000 signatures to dismiss and investigate several university officials.