Very significant change in public sentiments documented by sociologists: the number of opponents of the death penalty in the Russian society increased substantially. Made by professionals version about what exactly happened to cause such a noticeable softening of social mores diverge.
Over the last 15 years in Russia in two times increased the number of supporters of extension of the moratorium on the death penalty from 12% to 25%. For the complete abolition of the death penalty are 16% of Russians (in 2002 the figure was 12%). This follows from the study of “Levada-Center”, said yesterday “Interfax”.
“Was stern and Peter the Great, but in General the kings were executed for much less than in other European countries”
Getting fewer of those who offers to “restore the death penalty in the old size (as it was in the early 90-ies)”. Now there are 32%, and in 2002 was 49%. For the extension of the application of the death penalty expressed by 12% of respondents, in 2002 they were 19%.
“We have a decree of the President, we have the decision of the constitutional court on this matter, therefore, de facto the death penalty we have is not only not used, but it imposed (by the court) can not”, – quotes Agency the Chairman of the Duma Committee on state construction and legislation Pavel Krasheninnikov. Earlier Krasheninnikov repeatedly urged to remove from the Criminal code the reference to executions “because it still has not”.
What happens with the Russian society? Why demanding the death penalty has become considerably less?
The first version: “have not had a major terrorist attack”
Deputy Krasheninnikov Yuri sinelshchikov (CPRF), honored lawyer of Russia, the former Deputy Prosecutor of Moscow recognizes that attitudes are changing.
“More popularizada ideas and arguments of the opponents of the death penalty. Therefore, the process is quite natural. The absence of such penalties I would call a sign of a civilized society. This is a sign that society is becoming more tolerant, cultured” – he said the newspaper VIEW.
The former head of the Synodal Department for Church-state relations Archpriest Vsevolod Chaplin employs similar reasoning. “I attributed this to the fact that, thank God, the last time there was a major terrorist attack”, – Chaplin said the newspaper VIEW.
Version two: “Used to”
Deputy Director of “Levada-Center” Alexei Grazhdankin believes that “people’s morals softened”, which “largely contributed to the reduction in the crime rate since 2000,” said the newspaper “Kommersant”, the sociologist. He noted that the total number of supporters and opponents of executions “almost equal”, stipulating that 44% favour the death penalty is still a serious figure.
His colleague at the “Levada-Center” Karina Pipia in conversation with the newspaper VIEW noted: a growing number of opponents of the death penalty is slow, but steadily – over 20 years of moratorium on the death penalty dynamics. “Of course, Russians are accustomed to the absence of the death penalty as such,” – said Pipia.
“If things continue as is, then, of course, quite predictable that this share will continue to decline. If suddenly there are any extraordinary circumstances in which you find that the death penalty in Russia is needed, it is possible that public opinion will change,” warned sociologist.
Version three: the growing legal consciousness
In contrast to sociologists, a member of the HRC, human rights activist, lawyer Alexander Brod believes that the level of tension in society is not reduced. Good example, he said, was the incident in early February a controversial story in the Moscow subway, when the two squabbled with each other, the passenger got into a fight and even bit each other. “This absurd case shows the level of aggression our citizens. But relatively high measures still comes the understanding that with this step the problem of crime cannot be solved. There are many other circumstances that would allow progress towards the establishment of a legal state”, – said Brod.
“As practice shows, the information in the press about the brutal and cynical murder are not reduced,” – said the activist. The change in public opinion, he explains the “softening of manners”, and the gradual expansion of the rational legal consciousness. “The discussion around this issue lasts for a long time. There were many experts, human rights activists, who proved that the penalty is not a solution to the problem. In addition, there may be abuse, given the opacity law enforcement and the judicial system,” Wade said the newspaper VIEW. He is confident that the mood in society affects the position of senior officials who commented on the moratorium on the death penalty.
Recall, Russian President Vladimir Putin does not believe the death penalty is the most effective means of fighting crime. The head of state, for example, said in April 2013 in a straight line. The question was raised in connection with the events in Belgorod, where previously convicted Sergey Pomazun shot six people. “Sometimes, when faced with such things, the hand she reaches for a pen to sign some documents aimed at the return of the death penalty, or ask about the deputies, – admitted then Putin. – But you have to talk to experts, criminologists. They believe that the tougher penalties will not lead to eradication to reduce the level of crime”.
Twenty years without shooting
In August, marks 20 years since the last death sentence in Russia. This happened for the second time in the history of the Russian state. For the first time for so long the country has been without executions in the reign of Elizabeth from November 1741 to December 1761 (old style). Thus, the record of the Empress has already been broken.
Vsevolod Chaplin also recalled that in Russia, unlike the West, were not religious wars, though the cases of prolonged non-use penalty is not too much. “Its legitimacy is not challenged and even confirmed including theological authorities”, – said the Archpriest. As a historical example, he recalled the actions of the Holy equal to the apostles Prince Vladimir, who first abolished the death penalty, “but then entered it again under the influence of the Christian Bishop.”
But in General, he believes that in Western Europe the death penalty was used more often than in Russia. So, during the great French revolution, executions by guillotine were subjected to a huge number of people. “You can recall an earlier century. Mass executions of more well-known in Europe than in Russia. Something similar happened when Ivan the terrible. Was stern and Peter the Great, but in General when kings executed much less than in other European countries,” he concluded.