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Over half of Russians support the restoration of capital punishment

July 01, 2013, 11:38 UTC+3

The Muscovites are most bloodthirsty

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Over half of Russians call for the restoration of capital punishment. However, one more sociological survey of the Levada Centre showed that the number of supporters of death penalty is gradually on the decline.

The Muscovites are most bloodthirsty, the residents of the North Caucasus are least bloodthirsty, the Izvestia daily, which made public the results of the sociological survey, reported.

The sociologists found out that the supporters of the restoration of capital punishment in Russia to the extent it was applied before the introduction of the moratorium in 1996 (for particularly grave crimes against the person) make 38% of Russian citizens. Along with those, who call for a possible expansion of the administering of capital punishment in Russia (16%), the share of supporters of death penalty makes 54%. Meanwhile, there were 61% of them in the previous year and 68% in 2002.

Meanwhile, the number of persistent opponents of capital punishment remains almost unchanged: 12% of respondents called for the full abolishment of capital punishment in Russia in 2002, there were ten percent of them in the previous year, 11% of respondents said they do not accept the death as punishment now.

A lower share of supporters of capital punishment is caused by those, who accept the current situation: when the capital punishment is not cancelled finally, but the moratorium is imposed on its execution, the courts do not pass death verdicts. Since 2002 their share has almost doubled from 12% to 23%.

In general, elderly people (61% against 54% in the country on the whole) and men (57%) are more inclined to approve the deprivation of life as punishment. The youth is not so bloodthirsty (43 %). In terms of geographical position the Muscovites have the most aggressive moods over this issue. As many as 77% of respondents in the Russian capital support the idea of restoring the capital punishment and a possible broader use of death penalty. Big cities of the Ural Region (69%) are following. The lowest number of supporters of capital punishment was reported in the North Caucasus and the Volga Region - 47% and 49%, respectively.

Levada Centre Deputy Director Alexei Grazhdankin explains a lower number of supporters of capital punishment by the general stabilization of the situation in the country from the early 2000s. He explained more aggressive moods of the Muscovites with a higher influence of mass media.

“Moscow is the most media-influenced city. The Muscovites do not know their neighbors, but receive the information from the whole world. What the media outlets are broadcasting, including crimes, the problems of migrants and corruption influences them most of all. Therefore, they have more aggressive moods. The similar situation has emerged in the million-populated cities in the Ural Region,” he affirms.

Director of the Russian office of Amnesty International Sergei Nikitin agreed with the conclusions of the sociologists. “The Public Opinion Research Centre (VCIOM) has recently cited similar figures. VCIOM also found a higher number of those, who are ready to accept the cancellation of capital punishment, and a lower number of its ardent supporters. These figures instill optimism and reflect a global tendency for the cancellation of capital punishment,” he said.

The human rights activist noted that this is mainly the merit of the Russian authorities, which are taking the efforts to explain that the administering of capital punishment will not influence the level of crime in the country at all.

Last April, Vladimir Putin stated the lifting of the moratorium on capital punishment is not expedient, the Izvestia daily recalled. The moratorium on capital punishment in Russia was introduced by the presidential decree in August 1996. In April 1997 the country signed the relevant protocol of the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms. However, this document was not ratified by the State Duma, therefore, the capital punishment is not cancelled officially, but it administering is impossible under the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties, which obliges the signatory nations to abide by the convention even without its ratification. In 2009 the Russian Constitutional Court ruled that no courts in the country can hand down death verdicts.

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