How was the last day of the condemned man in the USSR?


The death penalty in the USSR existed from the very foundation of the state until its collapse. The verdict could be passed for various acts, from a serious crime to being recognized as an «enemy of the people.» Until now, many numbers and aspects of the procedure are covered with secrets and myths.

Pre-Soviet practices

The death penalty in Russia

The tradition of «last wish» still exists in the United States. In most states, the total cost of ordering a suicide bomber

In the USSR, there was no special attitude towards suicide bombers. They were kept in ordinary cells and fed with a common prison ration. Most often, the sentence was carried out on the same day when it was announced.

According to

The convict was not given any formalities, rituals and the last word. The presence of a doctor at the execution was not obligatory. The death was declared by the executioner himself. To prevent the grave of the deceased from becoming a place of pilgrimage, it was carefully masked with sod.

The relatives were not informed about the execution of the convict. For the sake of humanity, the convict was not told the purpose of the trip, but was blindfolded before the shot. The executions reached the greatest scope during the years of the Great Terror, when, in the period from 1937 to 1938, the organs of the NKVD

In the second half of the 20th century, the repression machine became much more humane, and death sentences were passed less frequently. After the verdict was announced, the prisoners had the opportunity to draw up a cassation appeal and a request for clemency.

Such statements were considered for months, which gave the person time and hope for a happy outcome. Often the sentence was indeed commuted to imprisonment, and not always life imprisonment.

All this time the convict whiled away in solitary confinement. The potential suicide bomber was forbidden to meet, walk and broadcast from the outside. However, books from the local library were allowed. The prisoner left the cell only once a week in the shower room.

He ate the same as the rest of the convicts. The prison menu included meat, milk, cereals, vegetables and even fruits. In reality, the meat remained with the bosses and did not reach the prisoners, the kitchen workers and inmates drank the milk, and the vegetables and fruits were often stale.

According to

There, a commission consisting of the head of the prison, an employee of the prosecutor’s office, a doctor and an accounting clerk once again read out the verdict to him, and then the refusal to pardon. The next minute the guards took the man into a windowless room, put him on his knees, and the executioner pulled the trigger.

There was no question of any last word, last meal or last wish in the USSR.