During the past three centuries, criminal punishment regimes in Russia have softened dramatically. Capital punishment, for example, took the lives of thousands annually in the 1700s and now is no longer applied.

Russia has a richly deserved reputation for severity of punishment, yet it was the first major country in the region to limit the death penalty application. Until the late 1800s, Russia and Europe were following a similar path of penal reform. From the early 1900s, however, they diverged radically. What happened? Criminal justice in Russia and the Soviet Union will survey modern trends in criminality and penology in Russia, with a comparative perspective on Europe. Students will conduct independent research into topics of their choice.

Semester: WiSe 2021/22