Sunday, May 20, 2018

Tsarist Judicial System Found Almost 30 Percent of Those Charged Not Guilty; Stalin’s, 8-10 Percent; but Putin’s Less than 1 Percent

Paul Goble

            Staunton, May 20 – Under the tsars and even in Stalin’s time, Russians charged with crimes were more likely to be found not guilty by the judicial system than they are today. Tsarist courts found not guilty almost 30 percent of those who appeared before them; Stalin’s, eight to ten percent; but now under Putin, only 0.3 to 0.6 percent are exonerated.

            According to official statistics, Novyye izvestiya reports, “as many as 70 percent” of those charged plead acknowledge their guilt even before the case goes to court. Moreover, “on the whole 90 to 92 percent of those charged admit their guilt” either there or in court. Only ten percent challenge the charges, and only six to seven percent of them are found not guilty.

                Moreover, of those found guilty among those who do not believe they are, “only nine to eleven percent” appeal the decisions of the court of first instance, and thus the paper says, “90 percent [of those swept up in the judicial system] consider the sentences just” (

            These statistics collectively show, the paper says, that “to increase the number of exonerating sentences can be achieved by two means: reduce the number of cases handled [by plea negotiations before trial] and increasing the use of jury trials.”

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