On May 16th, PRAVDA.Ru published the article that was devoted to the issue of death penalty: “Death Penalty in Russia: To Be or Not To Be?” The tragic event in the city of Kaspiysk on May 9, which caused the deaths of several dozens of people, angered Russian society. A discussion is again flaring up in the country about the cancellation of moratorium on death penalty.” The ORT television network cited soldier Arsen Serkilo as saying: “It was very hard to survive all of that. I would choke those terrorists with my own hands; people like them should not live.”
We offered our readers the chance to express their opinions regarding the issue of the death penalty in Russia. We have to say that the majority of the people who wrote us agreed on one and the same subject: the death penalty in Russia must not be cancelled.” We would like to present some excerpts from the letters we received from our readers.
Oleg: “The reasons of our government for preserving the moratorium on death penalty do not have much in common with the reality in our country. Governmental officials simply do not want to dirty the clean suit that the European Union gave them. Why not canceling other strict punishments, such as life imprisonment? This is a lot more inhumane than the restriction of freedom of speech. Such a measure would make the West rejoice, and our liberal democrats would have a lot of arguments against the suppressors of human freedom. However, at the same time, this would point out the absurdity of cancelling the death penalty in Russia. If the state is supposed to defend the interests of every citizen, then it must redeem its fault for the people it failed to save, taking account of its Europe-oriented attitude to murderers. And the last thing. If sentencing a murderer to death is inhumane, then what about the fact that police officers may shoot him if he shows resistance or tries to escape? Any crime must be punished, especially a crime against human life.”
“I was very surprised when I read in the newspaper that a bastard was sentenced to eight years in prison for killing three people. This is hilarious; this will only make the level of criminality go higher! I think that it is too early to cancel death penalty.”
“Democracy is not when you can do anything you want. Democracy is when there is law and order. When you can do anything you want, this is called a mess. That is why I think there should be a law passed that would permit bringing down the death sentence, but this decision should be made by a jury. See it yourselves: murderers do not have anything to be afraid of nowadays! The most important thing for them is not to resist police officers when being nabbed, because there is no big difference for them where to live: either in jail or not."
“ In this connection, the death penalty is represented as the strongest punishment possible for the people who destroy the stability and the normal way of development of the society. The fear to be punished with death has always been the strongest instrument that helped to maintain the public order and personal security of society’s members. It is very hard to hold back people from committing a crime in the conditions of the present time, when constraining religious motives are very weak, when there is a cult of money, perversion and violence, when there are democratic liberties for everyone. On the other hand, the weakness of the society is about its inability to intimidate people with inevitable and cruel punishment. This is a very good ground for various sects, maniacs, religious fanatics, and degrading people. This situation will inevitably weaken the security of the society and there will appear a serious danger for its stability. In this connection, the institution of the death penalty is justified. However, society is supposed to carefully control those incidents when death penalty is used. Any innocent person that is executed by the society, will destroy the belief in the fairness of the society itself. Anyone could take that place.”
“I think that the fact that the mass media touched upon the subject of the death penalty was due to their wish to raise their ratings by means of stirring up people’s feelings, despite people’s great interest in the issue. No punishments will ever be toughened! Let’s imagine that a gang of bandits is terrorizing a village. They take money away from its residents, make them render tribute for water and electricity, old people die in the village, there are no doctors and no teachers there, and the people do not know how to resist. Then, there will be someone in that village who will say that those bandits must be punished and the law must be toughened. How will those criminals allow this to happen? Those corrupted shepherds that sit in the government of that village will vote against it. This is what happens in our village. It will never ever be possible to get the bandits away from the place where they can make a profit. Our young military men could come and change the situation, but the government will not allow it: they are destroying the army, as they are afraid of young men with new ideas and weapons. I do not believe that those bandits will sign their death sentence.”
“A lot of people refuse to acknowledge that there are interests of a murderer and interests of the society, and a murderer ignores the laws of the society. These interests are antagonistic. Whose side shall the state take, the murderer’s or society’s? A lot of criminals do not mind living in jail, because it is a common way of life for them, just with little restrictions of their freedom. The only and most valuable thing for all of them is life. Some of them will wake up only after they realize the possibility that they can actually be executed. What does a criminal think of when he is planning a crime? “They will not catch me, but if they do, I will live well in jail and maybe I will be pardoned.” What if the death penalty is instituted? “They will not catch me. But what if they do? This will be the end.” The number of murders and assassinations has increased a lot in Russia recently, and this coincided with the propaganda of ideas of pardoning criminals and cancelling the death penalty."
“The death penalty can not be instituted. First of all, there can be mistakes. Secondly, the death penalty deprives a person of an opportunity to regret his crime and repent. Thirdly, it is a very easy way to punish a person; it does not at all correspond to the weight of the committed crime."
“The situation in Russia is becoming horrid. It is needless to dwell on what is going on in jails and how people live there. There are too many prisoners in jails, which is why it is basically over with amnesty, the goal of which is to make some room. Maybe our government is supposed to reconsider the quality and quantity of the places where prisoners live?"
Prepared by Sergey Stefanov PRAVDA.Ru
Translated by Dmitry Sudakov