Russian Church opposes death penalty


Eastern Europe


Russian Orthodox Bishop Hilarion Alfeyev. Photo EPA, Noemi Bruzak

The Russian Orthodox Church opposes the restoration of the death penalty in Russia. According to the Church, capital punishment will not lead to positive changes in society and reduce the number of crimes.

That said Metropolitan Hilarion, chairman of the Department for External Church Relations of the Moscow Patriarchate, according to the Russian state-owned press agency RIA Novosti.

Hilarion reacted to the publication of a book by the chairman of the Russian Constitutional Court. In that book, Valery Zorkin did not rule out that Russia could return to the death penalty as capital punishment in the future.

Terrorist is not afraid

In Metropolitan Hilarion’s opinion, however, someone who will commit a terrorist attack or any other crime punishable by death is not afraid of death. This was reported by the Russian press agency Interfax. If they are, the Criminal Code stipulating the death penalty would not prevent them from committing the crime, reasoned Hilarion.

The Metropolitan added that someone could never rule out the possibility of a miscarriage of justice since the death penalty is irreversible. “We must not forget about those monstrous crimes that were committed in our country in the 1920s and 1930s when people were sentenced to death by the verdict of a troika, when the head of state, Joseph Stalin, signed execution lists”, said Hilarion. “Our sad story with mass executions, and then rehabilitation, should, I think, teach us that we should not repeat these mistakes.“



Subscribe for an update, and receive a documentary and e-book for free.

Choose your subscriptions*

You may subscribe to multiple lists.