It is no surprise at all that the number of executions in Germany in 1933 increased tenfold compared to the previous year (see Figure). Practically all death sentences were handed out for political crimes (mostly for “high treason”) by the newly established People’s Court and other special political courts.
To put this increase in the proper perspective, it is necessary to note that during the last six decades on Russian Empire there were about nine executions each year. All for political crime – there was no death penalty for common criminals in Russia, even for murder. Which is no surprise either – in Russia a human life was always far less valuable than in civilized Europe.
After Bolsheviks came to power and won the Civil War, went up about 46 times – almost five times more than in Germany when Nazis came to power. The next year six times more individuals were executed. Although Bolsheviks made aggravated murder punishable by death, most of the death sentences were meted out for “political crimes” (i.e., to real or perceived opponents of the Nazi regime).