Ekaterina Maksimova: The death penalty issue in Russia

Vladimir Putin has signed a package of bills devoted to the judicial reform as well as the new Russian Criminal Code of Procedure. The New Code stipulated that the death penalty is the extreme penalty. However, the moratorium to fulfil such a sentence is still in effect in the country too (it was put into effect in the autumn of 1996). The dispute about the death penalty has started over again.

In 1996 we wanted to get closer to the humane Europe and introduced the death penalty moratorium. However, the majority of the Russian people believe the moratorium has to be cancelled, immediately. The Chechen terrorists, such as Salman Raduyev, must be punished for causing grief and trouble to hundreds of people. The terrorists should not eat the jail bread, bought for tax-payers’ money. Those, who blew up the apartment buildings in Moscow and Volgodonsk, should be punished accordingly. Both terrorism and brutal murders must be punished. Maybe it will help to stop the criminals, at least a little.

The Russian punishment execution system does not have the money to maintain the lifetime prisoners. The jails are overcrowded, there is even no opportunity to render jobs to those, who were sentenced to lifetime imprisonment. Besides, there is a moral aspect to cancel the moratorium. The pardon committee, attached to the Russian president is simply heaped up with the petitions from the lifetime prisoners. There is only one request in them: “Shoot me, I can not stay behind the barbed wire till the rest of my life.”

The issue of death penalty in Russia is the question of the sate level. The death penalty has always been present in the punishment execution system, in all times and in all countries. One should not turn a blind eye on that. The vast majority of the Russian society stands for the death penalty. But even most reasoned facts pale in comparison with two horrid facts of the Russian reality. First of all, anyone can make mistakes, even the judges. For example, there were several innocent people executed on Andrey Chikatilo’s case – an infamous maniac, who brutally killed about 60 people.

Secondly, everybody is aware of what is going on within the Russian law-enforcement bodies. Sometimes nothing prevents the investigators from getting the avowal of guilt from a person, who did not even commit a crime. There is “a schedule for the nabbed people” in any Russian police department – there should be at least one person, suspected of a murder, detained during a month.

The death penalty issue in Russia is a very complicated subject. The decision on that surely must be made by the officials, not by the common citizens. If there are mistakes, then the officials will be responsible for them.

Ekaterina Maksimova PRAVDA.Ru

Translated by Dmitry Sudakov

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