- Natalia Markelova was repeatedly abused by her husband Evgeny Markelov, 41
- 39-year-old stabbed him during a violent struggle at their Ekaterinburg home
- She has now been jailed for eight years after being convicted of his murder
- Comes after Putin signed new law reducing battery of a relative to a civil offence
Russian mother Natalia Markelova (pictured) has been jailed for eight years for stabbing her husband to death in self defence
A Russian mother-of-four who was beaten by her husband for 15 years has been jailed for murder after she stabbed him to death in self-defence.
Natalia Markelova had been subjected to more than a decade of abuse at the hands of her husband Evgeny Markelov, 41, when she fatally pierced his lung during a violent struggle at their home in Ekaterinburg.
The 39-year-old has now been jailed for eight years after a court convicted her of murder, just days after Russian president Vladimir Putin signed a controversial law decriminalising domestic violence.
The new law reduces battery of a relative to a civil offence instead of a criminal, a move which critics say is 'trivalising' the problem - but which supporters say will allow parents to discipline their children.
Markelova's lawyer has already lodged an appeal against her conviction, amid claims the authorities failed to understand the impact of domestic violence on her actions.
During the trial, a court heard how the incident unfolded in 2015 when Markelov began wielding a knife and threatening to kill his wife during a vodka-fuelled attack.
He then put the knife in her hand and told her to kill him, before he started attacking her. During the struggle, the knife pierced into his chest, the court heard.
Markelova immediately called an ambulance, but he died soon afterwards
In the aftermath, Markelova was allowed to live at home where she was investigated for 'excessive self-defence', a crime which comes with a maximum two year sentence.
But a year later, the authorities reclassified the charge to murder. She was found guilty during the trial and sentenced by judge Valery Saveliev to eight years in jail.
This week, Putin enacted legislation which reduces battery of a relative to a civil offence instead of a criminal one in first instances, when the victim suffered no serious harm.
Markelova had been subjected to 15 years of abuse at the hands of her husband Evgeny Markelov, 41 (pictured together), when she fatally pierced his lung during a violent struggle
The 39-year-old (left, on a TV show) has now been jailed for eight years after a court convicted her of murdering her husband (right)
Markelova's sentence comes just days after Russian president Vladimir Putin signed a controversial law decriminalising domestic violence. She is pictured in court during her trial
Supporters, including members of Putin's United Russia party, say they want to protect parents' right to discipline their children and reduce the state's ability to meddle in family life.
They say anyone who inflicts serious physical harm will still be criminally liable.
But critics claim it sends the signal to men they will not be punished for attacking women.
Markelova's sentence has already angered her supporters who claim she is a victim of domestic abuse.
Markelova's three youngster children - who are aged 14, six and 18 months (pictured) - are now being cared for by her 20-year-old daughter, who is from a previous relationship
Markelov, pictured with the couple's three children, died after his wife called an ambulance
Her friend Yulia Gracheva said: 'We don't understand why the judge did not consider the fact that she had been beaten numerous times by this husband.
'All the cases were registered with the police, and he always escaped punishment.'
Her three children - who are aged 14, six and 18 months - are now being cared for by her 20-year-old daughter, who is from a previous relationship.
In her own emotional account of the incident, Markelova told a TV interviewer that her husband had been drinking all day and was 'heavily drunk' when he attacked her.
Markelova's friend Yulia Gracheva (pictured) said the judge did not take the domestic violence by her husband into account
'I was lying and watching TV and told him: "Go to bed. If you don't, I will call the police",' she said.
'He replied: "If you call the police, I will kill you. So you better kill me now".
'He ran to the kitchen and grabbed a knife. He came up to me and put it in my hand. Then squeezed my hand with the knife, I tried to get free but couldn't.'
She said he then pierced himself in the lung.
'It all happened within seconds. I did not quite understand what had happened,' she said. 'I kept trying to release my hand, but his hand was much bigger.'
Senior state investigator Alexander Apeksimov told the court that the case hinged on her reaction after the stabbing.
The court heard she ran to neighbours saying 'call the doctors, I have stabbed my husband'.
'So she confessed to the murder at that moment,' he claimed.
Some experts also claimed the angle of the knife wound meant she was 'telling lies'.
Meanwhile, yesterday, a Russian newspaper claimed victims of domestic abuse should be 'proud of their bruises'.
A column in Komsomolskaya Pravda, one of the country's most popular papers, has said that women should 'find solace' in the fact that women who suffer domestic violence are more likely to give birth to boys.
In her own emotional account of the incident, Markelova (pictured) told a TV interviewer that her husband had been drinking all day and was 'heavily drunk' when he attacked her
Judge Valery Saveliev, pictured during the trial, sentenced the mother-of-four to eight years in jail. Senior state investigator Alexander Apeksimov told the court that the case hinged on her reaction after the stabbing, when she told neighbours 'I stabbed my husband'
The article, by writer Yaroslav Korobatov, stated: ‘For years, women who have been smacked around by their husbands have found solace in the rather hypocritical proverb, “If he beats you, it means he loves you!”
‘However, a new scientific study is giving women with irascible husbands new grounds to be proud of their bruises, insofar as women who are beaten, biologists confirm, have a valuable advantage – they’re more likely to give birth to boys!’
He cites research by controversial evolutionary psychologist Satoshi Kanazawa, who in 2005 published an article called 'Violent men have more sons'.
Each year, about 14,000 women die in Russia at the hands of husbands or other relatives, according to a 2010 United Nations report.
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