Get the latest updates as we post them — right on your browser

. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

One in 10 Russians Found Guilty of Crimes

More than one in 10 of the country's citizens have been convicted of crimes over the past 15 years, a retired Supreme Court judge wrote Tuesday in government daily Rossiiskaya Gazeta on Tuesday.

Criticizing the social consequences of what he called excessively harsh sentencing. Former Supreme Court deputy chairman Vladimir Radchenko wrote that between 1992 and 2007, more than 15 million people were found guilty of crimes — the equivalent of one-quarter of the male population.

Of those people, 5 million were jailed, and the population now includes 8 million ex-convicts, Radchenko wrote.

"Our own historical experience shows that excessive harshening of criminal legislation and strengthening of the punitive system gives the opposite results," Radchenko wrote. He cited a growth in crime after Khrushchev's clampdown on hooliganism in 1966.

The prison population now numbers 895,000, up from 763,000 prisoners in 2003. The increases come despite a recent fall in serious crimes such as premeditated murder and rape, Radchenko said.

The current Criminal Code "differs from the previous one in a number of aspects in its excessive cruelty," he wrote. "You come to the same conclusion if you compare our criminal legislation with that of European countries such as Germany, Austria and Italy."

Too many suspects are being detained for crimes without sufficient evidence, he added.