Death Penalty in Russia: Survey Finds Over 50% Support Its Return

Written by Camilla Jessen

Apr.25 - 2024 2:38 PM CET

Photo: Juliya Shangarey /
Photo: Juliya Shangarey /
Survey finds small majority of Russians in favour of reintroducing the death penalty.

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A recent survey conducted by Russian Field, an independent pollster, revealed that over 50% of Russians support the reintroduction of the death penalty. This result comes as discussions around capital punishment resurface, driven by incidents of violent crime and terrorism.

Survey Findings

The telephone survey, conducted in April 2024 with 1,631 respondents, found that 53% of participants favor reinstating the death penalty, while 39% are opposed, and 7% found it difficult to answer.

The survey indicated variations in support for capital punishment based on demographic factors, with residents of small towns and villages, and men, more likely to favor it than people in larger towns and women. Additionally, opposition to the death penalty's return decreases with age.

Supporters of the death penalty were most in favor of its use for crimes such as paedophilia (57%), murder (56%), and terrorism (46%).

Women were significantly more likely to support the death penalty for paedophilia and murder, while men leaned more toward capital punishment for terrorism-related crimes.

The survey showed that respondents who did not pursue further education and those who do not use social media or messaging apps were significantly more likely to support the restoration of the death penalty. This highlights a potential correlation between education, technology use, and views on capital punishment.

Legal Context

Although the death penalty is provided for under Russian law, Russia has not carried out any executions since 1996, when then-President Boris Yeltsin decreed a moratorium on its use. This moratorium was subsequently upheld by the Constitutional Court in 1999.

Calls for lifting the moratorium have resurfaced following a deadly terror attack on a concert hall in Moscow in late March.

Russian lawmakers have raised the topic of reintroducing the death penalty, with some suggesting that it could be an appropriate response to certain crimes.

However, senator Andrey Klishas dismissed these discussions as "unfair speculation."

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