World

Putin ally suggests Ukraine War critics should get death penalty

Vladimir Solovyov, a noted Russian television presenter and ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin, proposed instituting a death penalty for those who criticize the country’s policies, including its invasion of Ukraine.

Solovyov’s comments were shared on Saturday by The Kremlin Yap, an account on X, the platform previously known as Twitter, dedicated to sharing clips from what it calls “Russian propaganda shows” with English subtitles. In the latest clip, Solovyov lamented that the punishments currently being enacted against critics and saboteurs in Russia do not go far enough.

“I believe that it is necessary to realize the level of danger,” Solovyov said. “But we take traitors of the motherland and sentence them to two years, fine them, they record apologies. Their corpses are not hanging from, figuratively speaking, poles, they are not afraid to betray the motherland, they are not afraid to throw bottles at military commissariats, not afraid to supply data on the movement of our troops, not afraid to burn relay cabinets.”

He continued: “They are not afraid. They don’t see the inevitability of punishment and the dreaded sentences. They see no punishment…We allow scumbags to threaten anyone they want, and they are not sought out and punished by agencies outside our motherland. No one was brought in in a bag, no one was liquidated on the spot. Nothing was done.”

Newsweek reached out to Russian officials via email for comment.

This is not the first time that Solovyov has argued in favor of Russia instituting death penalties for certain infractions. In November, just after Russia announced its withdrawal from the strategic city of Kherson in Ukraine, he called for traitors and deserters to be shot.

“I believe that we should reject the moratorium on the death penalty and introduce articles allowing the execution of traitors and their accomplices, terrorists and their accomplices, sponsors, and financiers, including shooting deserters who abandoned the combat order and betrayed their comrades,” Solovyov said at the time. “Brutal discipline, personal responsibility of those making the decisions, iron will in carrying out the orders. A clear understanding of the consequences and the responsibility that comes with making decisions.”

vladimir solovyov russian death penalty
Russian President Vladimir Putin alongside ally Vladimir Solovyov. Solovyov recently called for the institution of harsher punishments against critics of the Russian government, including the death penalty.
Mikhail Svetlov/Getty Images

Former Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, who currently serves as deputy chairman of the Security Council of Russia, has also been among the prominent Putin allies to call for the return of the death penalty.

The moratorium on the practice that Solovyov referenced was enacted by Russia in 1996 as it was working to join the Council of Europe. Its membership was, however, terminated last year after the full scale invasion of Ukraine began.



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