Kim Murphy has written many great articles for the Los Angeles Times. She won the Pulitzer in 2005 for her reporting on Russia during the previous year, and one story sticks in my mind unlike any other: “
Whispered in Russia: Democracy is Finished.”
That headline came to mind when I read today that a Russian female ad executive lost her sexual harassment lawsuit against her boss because the judge ruled “that employers were obliged to make passes at female staff to ensure the survival of the human race.”
Now, obviously sexual harassment claims and democracy have little to do with each other, but the judge’s indifference to the former brought to memory complaints about the latter. That and what happened to oppositional political leaders like Gary Kasparov last year. I read this article from The Telegraph after hearing on NPR this morning that the CEO of BP Russia has gone into hiding.
So, at this point I will stop burying the lede and offer the latest lunacy from Russia:
The unnamed executive, a 22-year-old from St Petersburg, had been hoping to become only the third woman in Russia’s history to bring a successful sexual harassment action against a male employer.
She alleged she had been locked out of her office after she refused to have intimate relations with her 47-year-old boss.
“He always demanded that female workers signalled to him with their eyes that they desperately wanted to be laid on the boardroom table as soon as he gave the word,” she earlier told the court. “I didn’t realise at first that he wasn’t speaking metaphorically.”
The judge said he threw out the case not through lack of evidence but because the employer had acted gallantly rather than criminally.
“If we had no sexual harassment we would have no children,” the judge ruled.
Since Soviet times, sexual harassment in Russia has become an accepted part of life in the office, work place and university lecture room.
According to a recent survey, 100 per cent of female professionals said they had been subjected to sexual harassment by their bosses, 32 per cent said they had had intercourse with them at least once and another seven per cent claimed to have been raped.
If we had no sexual harassment we would have no children. Yes, the judge assures us, seemingly inappropriate, and illegal, work situations are all part of human history, God’s divine plan manifest.
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