Nearly half of Russians support amnesty marking 20th anniversary of Constitution
Nearly half of Russians - 46 percent - support the declaration of amnesty marking the 20th anniversary of the Russian Constitution, while 31 percent consider it unnecessary, the Levada Center sociological service told Interfax with reference to findings of a poll it conducted on December 20-24.
The amnesty the State Duma declared unanimously on December 18 is expected to be applied to some 25,000 people. It exempts the least socially protected categories of convicts, some categories of people suspected or accused of committing crimes, and people who have done some services to the state from serving their sentences or from being held criminally liable.
The said categories include people who committed their crimes while they were younger than 18, women with underage children, pregnant women, pensioners, disabled people, people who participated in liquidating the consequences of the Chernobyl disaster, military servicemen, Interior Ministry servicemen, officials from the criminal corrections system, and individuals who participated in military actions or other actions to defend the country.
A number of categories of defendants will also be eligible for amnesty, and their cases will have to be closed.
The amnesty is not applicable to those suspected or convicted for crimes involving sexual abuse, against minors, and related to terrorism.
The poll showed that 48 percent of the respondents believe amnesty should definitely be applied to the environmentalists from the Greenpeace-operated Arctic Sunrise vessel, who protested against oil production in the Pechora Sea (24 percent against), and 43 percent would like former Yukos head Mikhail Khodorkovsky to be eligible for amnesty (26 percent against).
More than two thirds of the respondents - 68 percent - do not like to see former Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov and Defense Ministry official Eugenia Vasilyeva, who has been prosecuted for embezzlement in the Oboronservice case, among those amnestied, while 14 percent would approve of this.
The poll showed that 41 percent of the respondents supported the amnesty application to the convicted members of the Pussy Riot punk band, while 40 percent object to this.
As many as 39 percent were undecided whether the prosecution of opposition activists Sergei Udaltsov and Alexei Navalny should be stopped, 33 percent supported this, and 28 percent were against it.
The idea that the people standing trial for involvement in clashes with police during the May 6, 2012 opposition rally on Bolotnaya Square in Moscow should be amnestied is supported by 39 percent of the respondents, 37 percent are undecided, and 25 percent are against such a step.
Nadezhda Tolokonnikova and Maria Alyokhina said they will begin working on a human rights project entitled Law Zone in the nearest future.
At the present time, Pussy Riot punk band members Nadezhda Tolokonnikova and Maria Alyokhina and all crewmembers of the Greenpeace-operated Arctic Sunrise vessel have been released under the amnesty.
Former Yukos chief Mikhail Khodorkovsky was recently pardoned by President Vladimir Putin.
The enforcement of the State Duma's resolution on declaring amnesty marking the 20th anniversary of the Russian Constitution is to be completed within six months after it came into effect.