Nov 10, 2009

Russia's Death Penalty Debate

After 13 years, Russia's death penalty moratorium is set to expire at the end of next month -- unless the Constitutional Court issues an extension.

This is no small matter. In addition to the war on alcoholism, Gulag historians and Georgian pop music, the Kremlin has also tagged the death penalty as "one of the goals of the judicial reforms being carried out in the country."

Conveniently, a return to the death penalty is one way to deal with Medvedev's pesky legal nihilists problem. However, we're pretty sure that the president does not wear a WWSD (What would Stalin do?) bracelet.

So, he's kind of shot himself in the foot.


Ern said...

Do Russians really need another way to die?

Dmitri Minaev said...

I started this comment five or six times, but could not find the right words. A bitch named L. Sliska, the vice-speaker of the Russian Duma, member of United Russia, says: "On that day I will go to the church and light a candle for the restoration of the death penalty".

I thought I knew how cynical and stupid politicians can be but the life always exceeds my expectations.


Ern said...

you gotta be friggin kidding me

Sublime Oblivion said...

I support the death penalty - as do most Russians, for criminals (homicide, multiple rape, drug trafficking, large-scale corruption, and treason). By purging itself of these elements, Russia will make itself stronger, and as such Sliska sounds like one of Russia's truer patriots. Enough with the liberal nonsense.

Unfortunately it almost certainly isn't going to happen.

Dmitri Minaev said...

To Ern: I thought it was a joke till I read that article.

To Sublime Oblivion:
Tolya, you, as an American, misunderstand the notion of life sentence in Russia. It's hardly a life spent in a warm jail with a treadmill and a library. Probably, it's a little bit worse than being shot down or electrocuted. It's a hell for the guilty. And yet it leaves some hope for the innocent, the wrongly sentenced.

Sliska is incredibly stupid. She's one of those fashionable Christians who have no idea of what exactly the position of the church is. 56% of Russians support the re-introduction of the capital punishment (mostly senior citizens), but the Russian Orthodox church officially opposed it. "In the best periods of the Russian history there was no practice of capital punishment," they said.

Sublime Oblivion said...

Actually, most murderers receive 10-20 years in Russia. As for "warm jail with a treadmill and a library" - you're talking of Scandinavia, mate, not the US (except perhaps for white-collar crimes).

But in any case I do not support the DP for revenge, but for solving social problems. And criminals tend to discount the consequences of prison time, rationalizing that "it isn't so bad" or "I might get a short sentence anyway". Their thinking may be influenced if punishment is swift, severe and near-certain, as in Singapore or China.

"Best periods" is a subjective judgment. Furthermore, one may note that one of the reasons the Mongols found it so easy to rampage through Rus' was because of the polity's decentralization and internecine wars, a problem that could have been fixed with a strong, centralized state willing to rule coercively.

Ern said...

Sublime, the US made sure prisoners and suspected terrorists got swine flu vaccinations before some hospitals in NYC this year. I don't see the average Russian prisoner leaving jail without TB, AIDS, or worse. Just saying.

poemless said...

Sublime, are you serious? The death penalty hasn't been proven to be an asset to society. Has it made America a stronger nation? It sure hasn't kept people in Texas from killing each other.

Not to mention the very practical matter of fair trials. Until they can guarantee those, I can't see how the death penalty can be supported. Frankly, I don't think any country can guarantee those. Hence the logical conclusion...