History 14/01/20 “Highest measure of social protection”: when the so-called death penalty

the Phrase “the highest measure” was in the USSR, a euphemism for execution. And if someone today ask about the meaning of the phrase, it almost certainly will answer that refers to the highest measure of [criminal] punishment. But in fact, originally this term had in the Constitution a different meaning.

the Highest measure of social protection

the so-called death penalty in the first Constitution and the criminal code RSFRS sample 1922. The newly formed Soviet government, distancing himself from the atrocities of the Civil war, excluded the death penalty from the penal system and considered as an exceptional measure. Moreover, bearing temporary in a Communist state, no crime, no punishment for them was not supposed to.

In this situation, the Soviet legislators more closely resembles the ostrich, hiding his head in the sand. In fact, the hidden legal meaning in this approach there. Interpretation of the “highest measure of social protection” involves not punishing the criminal and protecting him from society. Soviet legislators and executors in this case just chose the least of two evils.

the Highest measure of criminal punishment

to Recognize that complete rejection of the death penalty is impossible, pretty soon. In 1926, it was instigated massive change in legislation in order to bring the Constitution and the Codes of all Union republics to a common denominator. In the new edition of death penalty was included in the system of criminal punishment as a Supreme measure. However, the number of articles for which she could apply, compared with the previous version, it was reduced by half.

Subsequently, the enforcement of the punishment was extended several times in various legislative acts. In 1935 it was extended to the minors and at least once, in 1940, had been applied in practice.

Another round of against the death penalty came in the “Khrushchev thaw.” In the new edition of the criminal code of the RSFSR in the shooting were treated as “an exceptional sentence” because in the future it is planned to cancel. Despite its uniqueness, the death penalty and after the 1960s remained fairly common in the Soviet Union the punishment.

Yaroslav Gorbunov

© Russian Seven

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