Arbatova, Mariya

(1957– )
   Feminist. Born Maria Gavrilina in 1957, Mariya Arbatova earned her name thanks to her intellectual salon in her room in the communal flat in the Arbat district of Moscow. Often referred to as “Russia’s chief feminist,” Arbatova has campaigned against sexual harassment, domestic violence, and workplace discrimination of women.
   Arbatova was educated at the Department of Philosophy of the Moscow State University as well as in the arts department of the Gorky Literary Institute; she was also trained in psychoanalysis. She has authored 14 plays that have been staged in Russia and abroad, 20 books, and numerous articles in newspapers and periodicals. Since 1991 she has been involved in the Harmony Club, an association of Russian feminists who provide assistance and psychological rehabilitation for Russian women. Since 1996 she has been engaged in campaigning for a fairer representation of women in Russian politics. In 1999, as a member of the Union of Right Forces, she made an unsuccessful attempt to win election to the State Duma from the University District of Moscow. In 2000, she worked as a consultant for Ella Pamfilova, the first woman to be nominated for the post of the president of the Russian Federation.
   Arbatova is especially famous because of her media appearances. For five years she co-hosted the popular television show I, Myself on the TV-6 channel and aired a human rights–related program, The Right to Be Yourself, on Radio Maiak. Arbatova is also known for her controversial views. In 2008 she created a scandal by publicly voicing her belief that a jailed pregnant woman should not seek amnesty.
   See also Gender.

Historical Dictionary of the Russian Federation. . 2010.

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