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Russian Women's Rights Activist Says Weinstein Conviction May Also Have Impact In Her Country

Disgraced Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein
Disgraced Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein

Russian women's rights activist Zalina Marshenkulova has said the conviction of Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein for sexual assault might have an effect on the attitude of abusers of women in Russia, but voiced skepticism about the possibility of similar court cases in her country.

Weinstein, 67, on February 24 was convicted of sexual assault for forcing oral sex on former production assistant Mimi Haleyi in 2006 and of the third-degree rape of aspiring actress Jessica Mann in 2013.

Marshenkulova said in an interview with Current Time shortly after a jury in New York found the film mogul guilty that the ruling may have prompted a reduction in derogatory posts insulting women on Facebook in Russia.

"... Many of the men [in Russia] who remain sexist and used to wage an aggressive holy war in defense of their "right" to harass and humiliate women in all sorts of ways stopped bragging about it on Facebook... What I would say is that many men now at least acquired an alternative opinion -- they might approach their peers and tell them: 'Listen, maybe you shouldn’t brag in your posts about having harassed someone,' Marshenkulova said, but stressed that Russia still remains a country where sexual harassment is not considered a problem and women's rights activists face threats.

Marshenkulova, a well-known feminist journalist who hails from Russia's mostly Muslim Kabardino-Balkaria region has a Telegram channel, Women’s Power, with around 30 thousand subscribers.

Zalina Marshenkulova (file photo)
Zalina Marshenkulova (file photo)

Earlier this week, Marshenkulova said she received threats from a group called For the Good of the Common People (VBON) known for what its members call its "stand for traditional values."

According to Marshenkulova, the threats came via social networks after she voiced support on her channel for a group of young Russian women who appeared in a video clip with Till Lindemann, the lead singer of German band Rammstein.

Marshekulova's support for the group of more than 20 women came after they started receiving threats for participating in the clip which depicted erotic scenes.

According to Marshenkulova, VBON placed a post on Telegram offering 120,000 rubles ($1,850) for a video clip showing her actual execution. She said earlier that she lodged a complaint with the police following the threat.

With reporting by DPA and Reuters