Translation: Vladimir Kolokoltsev – “The Death Penalty is Society’s Normal Reaction”

In an interview with Dmitry Nadezhdin, Russia’s chief police officer says that he, as a citizen – if not as a government Minister – supports the return of the death penalty for the worst crimes. Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov says that it ain’t happening.

Vladimir Kolokoltsev: “The Death Penalty is Society’s Normal Reaction”

The Interior Minister Vladimir Kolokoltsev gave an interview to NTV, in which he laid out his position on several issues.

On the death penalty for child killers

Although I’m afraid of incurring the wrath of opponents of the death penalty, speaking not as a Minister, but as an ordinary citizen: I do not see anything reprehensible in reconstituting it for such criminals. In the EU, there is one approach; in the US, there is another. Every state has its own particularities, and these must be acknowledged. But for these subhumans, and for those who carry out terrorist attacks that kill multiple victims, I consider the death penalty to be society’s normal reaction to such facts.

On punishments for policemen

The severity of a punishment does not give anywhere the same prophylactic effect as its inevitability. In the past year, more than 1,700 police officers were fired for offenses committed by their subordinates. The principle of personal responsibility has to play a role.

On drunk drivers

For citizens with epaulettes, there can be only one road – either he sits behind the wheel in a sober state, or he writes a dismissal report on himself. We are working on a number of mechanisms for identifying such employees, who think it is acceptable to get in car and drive to work after an all night binge.

As regards civilian drivers, there is no option other than to make them more accountable for drunk driving. By that stage educating people is too late, we’re all adults now. One option is to confiscate vehicles. It’s a tough reaction, but a very effective one.

On corruption

Citizens accuse us for bribery being prevalent, and for the atmosphere of venality. But then, you ask this citizen, “Why do you give bribes?” There is an immediate silence.

That said, all cases of corruption within the Ministry of Internal Affairs have to be burned out with red-hot irons and punished most severely. This will then make a man wonder: Is it really worth raising his level of material wealth in this way and then going to prison, or is it better to work cleanly and professionally?

On ethnic crime

I have set the policy that a main focus of attention will be directed to the fight against ethnic Organized Crime Groups. And we will hold officers accountable for how this task is executed. Especially when it comes to cases of particular resonance, there should be no room for compromise.

A call to the Kremlin

Komsomolskaya Pravda placed a call to the President’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov.

KP: “Dmitry Sergeyevich, in recent months there’s been a terrifying wave of child murders, e.g. in Tatarstan, in Irkutsk. We assume that the head of state is aware that such crimes are being committed?”

DP: “Certainly. He receives daily reports on the matter.”

KP: “Have you seen how he reacts to such reports?”

DP: “He reacts like any citizen. This is of course an absolutely monstrous phenomenon.”

KP: “Do you remember any of the President’s words, reactions?”

DP: “In this case, it is not a topic for discussion”

KP: The Interior Minister Vladimir Kolokoltsev, in a recent TV interview, said that he – not as a Minister, but as a citizen – supports the introduction of the death penalty for criminals who distinguish themselves by exceptional cruelty. Do you think that the recent high-profile cases could influence the President’s position, his attitudes towards this highest measure of punishment?

DP: The President’s position has been known for a long time, and it is a consistent, reasonable, and well argued one. In this case, the Minister expressed a personal point of view. This is absolutely normal. Indeed, there exists a wide spectrum of opinion as regards the death penalty. This is a significant and very sensitive social problem. But we know the official policy on the death penalty that exists today. [Read further] {Translator: To summarize Peskov’s full interview, hyperlinked left, Putin’s position on the death penalty is well-known, he is not going to change it, and there are no questions of putting it up for a legislative vote.}


The State Duma came out against the death penalty.

On Monday, 11 February, the head of the Duma Committee on Legislation Pavel Krasheninnikov commented on the Interior Minister Vladimir Kolokoltsev’s yesterday interview, in which he raised the possibility of bringing back the death penalty in our country. The deputies didn’t agree with the Interior Minister’s opinion.

“The abolition of the death penalty is needed, for the state shouldn’t be an instrument of vengeance,” Pavel Krasheninnikov said.