Rods, whips, batogs: flogging as a ubiquitous punishment in pre-revolutionary Russia
Rods, whips, batogs: flogging as a ubiquitous punishment in pre-revolutionary Russia
Punishment of Princess Lopukhina. Engraving from the State Historical Museum

In pre-revolutionary Russia, they especially loved such a form of corporal punishment as flogging… This torture was officially abolished only in 1904. One of the famous figures said: "The whole life of the people passed under the eternal fear of torture: flogged parents at home, flogged a teacher at school, flogged a landowner in a stable, flogged masters of crafts, flogged officers, policemen, volost judges, Cossacks."

Children's homes were flogged for any offense

If we turn to the first official code of laws "Russkaya Pravda", then there was no such type of punishment as flogging or beating with rods. It was only about cash payments or the death penalty. Physical violence did not appear until the 11th century. After another couple of centuries, rod punishment was used everywhere. For attempted rebellion or slandering, the so-called "commercial execution" was imposed. The offender was publicly beaten with a whip in the town square.

Whipping with a batog

In the time of Peter I, flogging was prescribed for minor crimes. The man was beaten with a whip or batogs. The guilty person was held by the head and legs. Sometimes the excessive zeal of the executioner, after just a few blows, was fatal. The debtors were hit on the legs with a stick (for 100 rubles they beat them daily for a month).

It happened that students were flogged just like that, for prophylaxis

Punishing children with rods in educational institutions was practiced everywhere. They beat me not only for offenses, but also simply for "preventive purposes."

The first, who were officially exempted from flogging, were representatives of the nobility, who received in 1785 from Empress Catherine II "Certificate of Merit".

In the parish court. S. Korovin, 1884 Recent past (Before whipping). N.V. Orlov, 1904

It was only during the reign of Alexander I that the system of corporal punishment was mitigated. In 1808, the wives of priests were exempted from this type of punishment, and by 1811 - and ordinary monks. After another five years, it was forbidden to pull out nostrils and beat with a whip in the squares in front of crowds of onlookers. Later, at the legislative level, concessions were announced for the elderly and children, but the heads of families, if they thought it necessary, still continued to flog the household, since the perception of the family and the attitude towards marriage in Russia differed significantly from modern ideas. Family Code of Practice "Domostroy" even welcomed corporal punishment.

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