Russia to Allow Women to Marry Deceased Soldiers

Written by Henrik Rothen

Feb.06 - 2024 10:42 AM CET

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Photo: ID1974 / Shutterstock.com
Photo: ID1974 / Shutterstock.com
Russia to Allow Women to Marry Deceased Soldiers.

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Russia is proposing a law that would allow women to posthumously marry soldiers who have died in conflict, reflecting the country's ongoing military involvement in Ukraine. Initiated by a directive from President Vladimir Putin two months ago, this proposed legislation seeks to address the complexities faced by the partners of fallen soldiers, who, until now, may have been left without the legal and financial protections marriage provides.

Since the onset of Russia's military actions in Ukraine nearly two years ago, the nation has mourned the loss of tens of thousands of soldiers. In response to this, the new bill aims to enable Russian women to legally marry their deceased partners, granting them and their children access to benefits previously reserved for legally married spouses, such as death-related insurance payouts.

This initiative does not envisage ceremonies with the deceased but rather offers a legal framework for partners to retrospectively obtain marital status. This legal adjustment is particularly poignant for those who were in non-registered, or "civil," partnerships, highlighting a societal acknowledgment of their plight.

During a December meeting of the Council for the Development of Civil Society and Human Rights, Putin highlighted the issue, emphasizing the need to support women in unofficial partnerships with men who died in Ukraine. He tasked Russian lawmakers with carefully examining the legal aspects of such relationships, suggesting amendments to ensure these women and their children are not left unsupported.

According to Tass, the proposed law, now before the State Duma, Russia's parliament, outlines that a court will determine the existence of a marital relationship posthumously. Criteria for this determination include a shared household and cohabitation for at least three years before the soldier's deployment; this period is reduced to one year if the couple has a child. The start of the marital relationship would be recognized from the day the couple began living together.

The specifics of how these relationships will be documented remain unclear, though Putin mentioned existing legal mechanisms for proving cohabitation in civil marriages, which may involve witness testimonies or shared residency.

This legal proposal is part of Russia's broader efforts to support the families of soldiers involved in the Ukraine conflict. Last year, Putin signed amendments simplifying the process for recognizing a soldier as dead or missing, facilitating compensation for their families. Despite these measures, the exact number of Russian military casualties remains undisclosed, with independent estimates suggesting significantly higher figures than those officially recognized.

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