Creativity, humanism and mercy are of special importance in the aftermath of the Crocus City Hall massacre, Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Tuesday. His comments came as lawmakers in Moscow debated reinstating the death penalty for terrorists.

Speaking at a Kremlin ceremony honoring young artists and educators, the Russian president addressed last Friday's terrorist attack at the Moscow concert venue, in which over 130 people died and scores more were seriously injured.
"It is extremely important for us now, when we're dealing with what happened last Friday, to rely on these values of creativity, humanism and mercy," Putin said. "They unite us in supporting all victims, in our determination to stay strong and together."
Artists and educators have a special role in preserving and promoting those values, by influencing the mood of the public and shaping the future of the nation, the Russian president added.

Putin's remarks have been widely interpreted as a signal to lawmakers and the public to tone down the calls for administering the death penalty to the suspects caught trying to flee into Ukraine after the Crocus City bloodbath.

State Duma deputy Sergey Mironov has proposed organizing a referendum on reinstating capital punishment. He also called for imposing a visa regime for Central Asian countries, as most of the suspected terrorists came from Tajikistan. Mironov leads the party "A Just Russia - For Truth," which has 28 seats in the 450-member legislature. His capital punishment proposal was backed by Liberal Democrat (LDPR) leader Leonid Slutsky.

State Duma Speaker Vyacheslav Volodin rejected the referendum idea, however, arguing that reinstating the death penalty was a simple matter for the Constitutional Court.

"In our Constitution and in criminal legislation, no one has abolished the death penalty," Volodin said on Tuesday. "There is only a decision of the Constitutional Court, which postponed the imposition of such a sentence, so no referendums are needed," he added.

The court suspended the death penalty in 1999, arguing that it was unfair without a jury trial and that not all regions of the country had those. A deputy from the ruling United Russia party, Mikhail Sheremet, announced on Tuesday that he would petition the court anew about the issue.

Judge Valery Zorkin, who chairs the Constitutional Court, has argued that the constitutionally guaranteed right to life means "the right not to be sentenced to death," so reinstating capital punishment would require changing the constitution itself.