Why the courts under Stalin was more humane modern

Another 25/02/20 Why the courts under Stalin was more humane than modern

Many will be surprised by the fact that in modern Russia the number of acquittals, the court rarely exceeds 0.8 percent, while in the midst of the Great terror, the figure reached 13%. What is the reason for this contrast?

the Stalinist phenomenon

the Last ten years indicators acquittals of the Russian court for the County level of 0.8%. Less justified in the case of theft of vehicles (0,03%), the most – malfeasance (4,49%). But even the latter figure is significantly lower than the indicators of the period of mass repressions. So, in 1936, the people’s courts issued 10.9 per cent of acquittals in 1937 and 10.3%, in 1938 – at the peak of the Great terror of 13.4%!

the Stalinist era is usually associated exclusively with repression, so we are surprised that in the 1930-ies, trials took place with the participation of lawyers. They often helped the accused, in particular on the political 58th article, if you do not cancel the verdict, or at least to mitigate the punishment from 10 to 1.5-2 years.

In his book “Henchmen of Stalin” Alexey Teplyakov results of the investigation statistics on the Siberian edge during the years 1935-1936. In the period from 20 Dec 1935 20 APR 1936 there was a criminal investigation of the 1 100 “counter-revolutionary” cases in which were involved 2 470 people. In the course of the investigation by the NKVD were discontinued business 9.5% of suspects, 6.7% of those arrested were acquitted, the Prosecutor’s office. A high percentage of acquittals in the Stalin era can be explained by the large number of charges that are often imposed hasty – due to the excessive zeal of law enforcement officers or premature conclusion of the investigators. A similar case goes to the Prosecutor, were often decided in favor of the defendant.

Everything is relative,

Historian Paul the Gingerbread, focusing on the Hairdryerharbinger of the Stalin era, notes that the high percentage of acquittals was only in national courts, but it had nothing to do with the famous “triplets” where the defendant had virtually no chance of acquittal, even if his guilt was not proven. The percentage of acquittals rendered by a repressive body, was negligible – 0,03%. In other words, it’s 500 acquittals 1.5 million of charges. As you know, the “Troika” launched its activities on 30 July 1937 after the NKVD order № 00447 in the repression of “anti-Soviet elements”. Court – or rather, out of court procedure implemented by the “Troika”, was simple: 5-10 minutes lasted a hearing, the defendant explained his rights, and then – a death sentence that was announced immediately before execution. These processes usually took place that reduced the likelihood of acquittal, and appeals against such sentences was almost impossible, as cases are dealt with in the regime of extreme secrecy. For the “Troika” handed down from 110 to 120 sentences. The ceiling was made in 1938 in the West Siberian region, where in one night it made 1 221 a guilty decision. Most of the sentences – death, the other defendants were waiting for 8-10 years in the camps or the same amount of years in prison.

And who fell into the rare category of justified? According to Pavel Pryanikov, due to the fact that the “Troika” worked in an emergency mode, and sometimes lost documents, confused the names, or just not occupied. Such cases were forwarded to the court where the defendant was much more likely. About 4% of cases discontinued due to the expiry of the investigation, which was then limited to two months.

the law Prevents the

And yet the sentences “triples” was a temporary phenomenon. After the elimination of a high percentage of acquittals judicial decisions in the Stalin era have been preserved. This figure is rightly compared to that which takes place in modern Russia. Perhaps the reason enormouslyth difference between the number of acquittals of two eras lies not so much in humanity Stalin’s judicial system as the peculiarities of the Russian court. For example, today in the EU the rate of acquittals ranging from 5% to 17%, which is comparable with the data for the USSR in the late 1930-ies.

The low number of decisions in favour of the accused in Russia was observed in 1993 – 0,3%, by 2003 it reached the level of 0.8%. But then again began to fall. At the end of 2015, the official representative of the Investigative Committee of Russia Vladimir Markin reported that the percentage of acquittals in criminal cases did not exceed 0.2%. Lawyer and human rights defender Violetta Volkova said that in fact the rate of acquittals in Russia is less, as, for example, in the case of proceedings regarding a domestic dispute, the court often simply ceases production due to lack of evidence. The abolition of such sentences by the Supreme court occurs in a formal statement.

human rights Activist draws attention to the fact that one of the reasons for the low number of acquittals may be related to a wrongfully convicted the right to rehabilitation. First, after the acquittal, the Prosecutor should bring the victim a public apology, and secondly, such a person has the right to monetary reimbursement of damages. Our judicial system is in contrast to Western not yet ready for the introduction of such practices. Lawyers often refer to such an article in the Russian legislation as “illegal attraction to criminal responsibility”. Through it must pass all those involved in the case in which the defendant’s guilt was not proven. But this article remains on the paper.

of the above, according to the lawyers, may indeed contribute to the trend of reducing the number of verdicts in favor of the accused. Stalin’s time was not burdened with the costs of the Russian proceedings, which affected the high rates excutelnyh sentences.

I must say that the small number of acquittals in modern Russia, partly kompensiruet a small number of real jail time. So, in recent years, to imprisonment sentenced to just over 30% of the defendants for approximately 68% of the story ended with a guilty verdict, after which they were released (they either count the time spent in jail or were appointed conditional punishment). Part of the picture change the verdicts of the jury, which justifies about 15% of the defendants. However, according to the estimates of journalist Oleg Lurie, acquittals by jury are canceled 800 times more often than convictions. If we consider the decision of the jury, it is only slightly improves the statistics on the acquittal verdicts. So, in 2010, all condemned 845 000 people, and acquitted the 9 000. Thus, the rate of acquittals amounted to 1,065%.

Taras Repin

© Russian Seven

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