Having someone killed either by hanging, beheading, or even firing squad is an absurd and disturbing act to ever witness, and in most cases, that is how most defaulters or offenders are killed when sentenced to death by the law. Though every country, region, state, and even tribe have their ways of measuring out punishment to offenders, the death penalty, though abolished by most countries, remains a capital punishment recognized and known by different people around the world.
Though most people would still stand and support the death penalty is passed on to offenders, as most people feel certain crimes are punishable by death and no other punishment will do right to whatever crime these offenders commit, others still see the death penalty as a drastic and harsh punishment to be measured out to any offender, and I guess the Soviet Union tends to agree with these people, as they too have abolished or stopped the administration of death sentences to offenders. And in light of that, we are going to be looking at why they decided to have a change of heart and abolish capital punishment, but first, let’ s digress a bit.
What Is The Death Penalty?
The death penalty, also known or referred to as capital punishment, refers to the sanctioned killing of a person by a state, country, or region for committing a crime that they consider to be punishable by death.
Capital Punishment is said to have originated with the earth’ s evolution and has been in use for a very long time. Capital felonies or capital crimes are the terms used to refer to crimes punishable by the death penalty, and these crimes include mass murder, child r*pe, murder, treason, human trafficking, drug dealing, drug possession, terrorism, aircraft hijacking, war crimes, crimes against humanity, and, in most parts of the world, adultery, theft, and blasphemy.
Capital punishment, as I earlier stated, is one punishment recognized in different parts of the world. However, recently, lots of countries, including Russia, have completely abolished capital punishment as a legal means for any crime whatsoever, while 7 countries have only abolished the death penalty for minor crimes and passed it on for major crimes.
Countries like China, Nigeria, Pakistan, India, the United States of America, Indonesia, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Japan have yet to abolish capital punishment from their list of legal punishments, though a few of these countries have earlier stated and shown their willingness to abolish capital punishment, they are yet to finally declare it.
Why Did Russia Abolish Capital Punishment?
The reason or the story behind why the Soviet Union decided to abolish capital punishment will not be complete without first saying what led to the reason behind the abolishment of capital punishment in Russia and that is what we will be looking at;
The stoppage or the abolishment of the death penalty in the Soviet Union or Russia dates back to the 2nd of August 1996 and till this very day in 2021, it has not been practiced again.
In plain and simple terms, the death sentence, or capital punishment was abolished due to the Moratorium. A moratorium was implicitly declared by the acting president of Russia at that time, Boris Yeltsin. And for the sake of those who do not know what a moratorium is, here it is:
A moratorium is a process where a law or rule is temporarily suspended or delayed to allow a legal challenge to be carried out.
At the time, capital punishment was common in Russia, as it was in other countries, and was a legal punishment meted out to defaulters or offenders for minor offenses. Okay, maybe saying any slightest crime might be going too extreme, but the death penalty or capital punishment was the thing they were found guilty of.
During the year, theft, treason, child trafficking, and other minor crimes that could normally lead to a few months or days in jail were punishable by death. And now I know that when I say death, I’ m sure the first thing that comes to mind is the most common and well- known method by which people are usually killed in most countries: hanging or electrocution, shooting in the head or firing squad, as most would refer to it, and posing.
How Russians Measure Their Capital Punishment To Offenders
But this idea of measuring out capital punishment to offenders wasn’ t the case for Russians, as they chose a more cruel and drastic measure of carrying out the death sentence, and these included drowning, forcing the hot liquid to melt down the offenders’ throats, and other painful ways.
The number of people being killed by capital punishment has become very high, ranging to a disturbing number of about 800, 000. On the 12th of March 1917, capital punishment was outlawed for a while and later came into effect again on the 4th of September 1918.
This time, the number of offenders killed by capital punishment went higher, and when it became alarming, capital punishment was abolished and replaced with years of imprisonment.
On the 26th of May 1947, things got a bit better in the Soviet Union and the death rates went down drastically until the cases of treason and aggravated murder came up in 1950, causing Russia to once again enact capital punishment.
The deaths began piling up again, but not as much as they were in the previous years. It was recorded that between 1950 to 1978 after the fall of Russia, there were about 3500 deaths.
In 1996, the death penalty was placed on a moratorium based on Russia’ s entry into the Council of Europe. The moratorium has remained in effect to this day. Though it has not been completely abolished, we hope it one day gets abolished.
Thanks for reading.