Staunton, July 4 – Russian criminals who have been pardoned for service in Ukraine can’t be punished as severely if they commit new crimes after leeaving the armed forces because courts are not allowed to take their earlier crimes into consideration during sentencing, an investigation by the Verstka news agency finds.
Russian officials from Vladimir Putin on down have sought to minimize the number of recidivist crimes those pardoned for Ukrainian service have committed, claiming that fewer than one half of one percent violating the law after returning home (verstka.media/pomilovannye-zeki-iz-chvk-vagner-vozvraschayutsia-k-prestupnoy-deyatelnosti-vlasti-stremiatsia-skryt-fakty-novyh-prestupleniy).
In fact, Verstka reports, there are no reliable statistics about this trend; but there have been a number of horrific crimes that these veterans have carried out – and Russians are angry not just about the crimes but about the fact that since these men have been pardoned, the courts can’t take their criminal pasts into consideration when sentencing them.
That means that Putin’s promise to punish such people to “the fullest extent of the law” is meaningless because if anyone else had committed such crimes, they would have been subject to far more severe penalties in the cases that Verstka has identified. That these criminals aren’t being punished according to that principle is not surprisingly infuriating.