around the world

How in Russia punished rapists

The most severe punishment for rape was introduced in Russia in the XVII century – the criminals were executed. Previously, sexual violence was most often punished with fines, the amount of which fluctuated depending on the social status of the “spoiled.”

Sodomy became a crime under Peter I – for 10 years, servicemen caught in sodomy, were officially sentenced to be burned at the stake. For an eternal link or flogging, punishment was replaced only a few years before the formation of the Russian Empire as a state.

“… Anyway, who can tell a girl or force …”

It is believed that in Russia in official documents the term “assault” (rape) is first mentioned in the New York-Gotha agreement of 1189, concluded between Russian and German merchants. Ostensibly it is from the Germans Rusich and borrowed a system of punishments for dishonor.

“The Church Charter of Yaroslav”, the church normative legal act of the 11th century, determined the amount of financial contribution imposed on the rapist – from one to five hryvnias of gold or silver. The size of the “fee” depended on the “whose will” the girl – for the boyar daughter, for example, fined to the maximum. A separate article in the statute concerned punishments for group rape – the perpetrators were additionally fined 6 hryvnia in silver. In both cases, the prince was to rule the case of punishment.

A more serious fine was punished for violence against high-ranking girls (women) and Yaroslav the Wise’s Russkaya Pravda. Such matters were considered by the spiritual and secular authorities. The desire to marry the dishonored as an extenuating circumstance was not taken into account, on the contrary, according to church and secular concepts, such a son-in-law was inappropriate.

Worst of all in this respect was the position of the slaves, the abuse of which in Russia was not considered a sin. Although the documents mention that if she complained to the church court, the rapist could be obligated to give the slave freedom and pay a fine of one to 15 hryvnia to the prince treasury.

Woe was to those who encroached on the honor of a lady from a noble family in the XII-XIII centuries – a collection of laws “Merilo pravestnoe” read: for “knocking over” a wife or “dyri” you have to pay 40 hryvnia to both the prince and the injured party. A similar “indemnity”, by the way, in those days was superimposed on the murderers.

The scorned honor of a boyar wife or daughter cost 500 hryvnias already – also to the prince and the victim. In addition, the church court ordered the rapist to marry a girl and fast for two years. And if the culprit was opposed, half of his property was taken away and rendered dishonored.

Among the peasants, the punishment for rape was most often at the mercy of their owner. When internecine encounters took place between princes in Russia, which happened quite often, the number of rapes increased sharply, and it was not possible to punish anyone, of course, in this situation.

When the violence and sodomy began to be executed

The death penalty for rape was imposed by the Cathedral Code, which operated in Russia from 1649 almost 200 years – and after the formation of the Russian Empire (1721). The rapists were killed by pouring molten metal into the throat, burned at the stake. The landowners again found themselves in a privileged position, they were tried for raping serfs from time to time.

Under Peter I, a rapist in exchange for the death penalty could receive a life sentence for his crime. Then (from 1706) they began to execute for sodomy. True, this concerned only the military, the civilian population did not fall under this kind of punishment. Only after 10 years, the death penalty for sodomy was replaced with corporal punishment (in case of violent actions sentenced to eternal exile).

Before sodomy in Russia was considered an offense, it was more a religious and moral problem – for the manifestation of sodomy the church imposed penance on penance for 1 to 7 years (for the same period as for ordinary fornication).a source

Back to top button