Bride, Chechen Kheda Goilabiyeva, and fiancé, Chechen police officer Nazhud Guchigov, second right, stand in a wedding registry office in Chechnya's provincial capital Grozny, Russia, on May 16, 2015.
May 24, 2015 12:19 PM EDT

Hundreds of Russian women are posting selfies with wrinkled faces in protest of an official who defended a 17-year-old girl’s arranged marriage to a 47-year-old man.

The Instagram campaign began Saturday after Russia’s children’s rights minister Pavel Astakhov defended the marriage, saying “there are places where women have wrinkles at age 27 and they look 50 by our standards,” BBC reports.

“Let’s not be prudish,” Astakhov said. “Emancipation and sexual maturity happen earlier in the Caucasus.”

The bride, Kheda Goilabiyeva, and her fiancé, police officer Nazhud Guchigov, were married in Chechnya two weeks ago. The wedding drew controversy because the minimum age for marriage under Russian law is 18, though in Chechnya the age is 16. The bride has said she married Guchigov willfully.

“This hashtag is about the oppression of women. Women’s rights are violated in Russia, especially in Chechnya,” one female activist told BBC.


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