Death penalty in Russia: to be or not to be?

Tragic event in the city of Kaspiysk May 9, which caused deaths of several dozens of people, excited Russian society. A discussion is again flaring up in the country about cancellation of moratorium on death penalty. Now, this initiative was introduced by high statesmen: State Council and People’s Assembly of Daghestan are preparing an address to President Vladimir Putin and to the State Duma with the call to cancel the moratorium. The deputies are united in the thought that crimes like that one in the city of Kaspiysk should be punished with death. The State Council’s chairman, Magomedali Magomedov is ready to personally solicit the President. According to him, “the criminals who commit terrorist acts like that one in Kaspiysk, have no right to indulgence and deserve death penalty.” Daghestan State Council’s position is supported by Gennady Raikov, the leader of People’s Deputy group in the State Duma: “The State Council’s appeal to cancelling the moratorium on death penalty will fasten the decision about creation of jury in Russia. According to Russian legislation, the juries should start their work January 1, next year. Since that moment, the question about the moratorium will no longer relevant, in other words, this so-called moratorium will not be used, because the final decision will belong to the judges. In general, the 9 May events should change many people’s position on death penalty…” This point of view is being shared also by the militaries who participated in that tragic parade in Kaspiysk. ORT cites the words of military man Arsen Serkilo: “It was a hard experience. I will remember it for all my life. I would smother them with my own hands, these people, they have only enraged us, people like that should not live…” Some time ago, President Vladimir Putin already expressed his position on possible resumption of death penalty. According to Putin, it is not the proper time to cancel the moratorium. This will not self the problem of criminality in Russia, while mistakes are very possible, taking into account the today’s condition of Russian legal proceedings. Innocent people could be their victims. Moreover, many criminals would choose now death penalty instead of life imprisonment in Russian prisons. In Soviet times, there was death penalty, so monsters, like sexual maniac Chekatilo, were executed. Though, not everybody knows that before to execute Chekatilo, three innocent people were executed, suspected of that mass murders. That was the investigation’s mistake. Nevertheless, according to sociological polls, most of Russian citizens consider it to be necessary to introduce the death penalty. According to last telephone express-poll of Ekho Moskvy radio station, after the terrorist act in Kaspiysk, 68 percent of Russians support introduction of death penalty, while 32 percent of respondents suppose that despite of the terrorist act in Kaspiysk, the moratorium should not be cancelled (in the poll, 1,316 telephone respondents participated). PRAVDA.Ru calls its readers to expressing their opinion about possible cancellation of the moratorium. The most interesting and well-reasoned statements will be published by the edition.

Sergei Yugov PRAVDA.Ru Translated by Vera Solovieva

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