This article describes the issues of creation and activity of electoral blocs. Electoral blocs can be considered as unions or associations of political parties, as well as public movements for joint participation in the electoral proess, including nominating a joint list of candidates, conducting a joint campaign, as well as monitoring the voting process and appealing against the results. Now, the possibility of creating election unions is provided only at the level of elections to the municipalities and then only in relation to social movements. Political parties still cannot put forward joint lists together with other parties. In this regard, the author pays great attention to the historical analysis of the legal regulation of approaches to the creation of electoral blocs in Russia, as well as the experience of these blocks of participating in real election campaigns. Since 1993, the blocs had been active participants in the electoral process. Electoral blocks were allowed to take part in elections throughout four election cycles and three times out of four they were represented in the State Duma of the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation. Despite the rather high prevalence, the legislation did not provide detailed rules for creating blocks. In addition to the Russian experience, the author also conducts a large comparative legal analysis of the activities of the election blocs in foreign countries. The author provides a comparative analysis of the party blocking process of the former Soviet Union countries, as well as large European countries. In most countries, there are two main systems for the joint participation of parties in elections: combining lists and blocking. In most countries where blocks are allowed, they are active participants in the political system, winning the election and delegating their representatives to parliament. Based on the analysis of Russian and foreign experience, the author argues that it is necessary to return blocking in modern Russian political life. Electoral blocks will increase the level of political competition, as well as increase the chances of small political parties to enter the Russian parliament.
The article reviews a comparative analysis of approaches to the legal regulation of primary elections (primaries) procedure in the USA, Argentina, Uruguay, France, Israel and Russia. Even though in the USA parties began to hold primaries since the middle of the XIX century, Russian parties drew attention to this institution only in the early 2010s. The author concludes that primaries could have a positive impact on development of party system in the country. However, for a competent implementation of this institution in the Russian legal system, it is necessary to examine and compare different existing models of the legal regulation of primaries. The author identifies three models of legal regulation of primaries: regulation of primaries by state authorities; regulation of the process of primaries based on internal local acts; a mixed model combining both legislative (general principles) and more detailed intraparty regulation. The article will also consider the issue of judicial protection of the rights of candidates and electors during the primaries. If in the United States an extensive judicial practice of protecting the rights of voters had been developed, Russian courts refuse to consider complaints of violations in the course of preliminary intraparty voting. Separately, decisions of the US Supreme Court on "Texas Processes" to appeal against the practice of "white-only primaries" and verification of state law for compliance with Amendment 15 to the US Constitution will be considered. The article will also consider the question of what risks exist in the obligation of parties to hold primaries. Considering the experience of foreign countries, the author will point out those features that should characterize the inner-party elections in Russia. Political parties in Russia cannot be considered as strong and independent institution. So, establishment of mandatory primaries can lead to regress of the party system. Law that may regulate primary elections in Russia should concentrate only on basic principles of this institution. Political parties must be guaranteed the right to decide to hold primaries or not. Voters and candidates should have right to appeal any violation of their rights both in parties’ arbitration body and in the state judicial system. Primaries can be a part of the procedure for nominating candidates by political parties.
As a response to the global SARS-CoV-2 pandemic, many countries have imposed restrictions on fundamental constitutional rights and freedoms, including freedoms of speech and assembly. The rapid spread of the understudied virus and the rise of the emotional tension within the society compelled the state authorities to adopt prompt measures to contain the virus. Unfortunately, the situation did not allow the decision-makers either to assess the specific aims of the restrictions or to consciously select the most adequate and least restrictive measures to fight the new virus. As a result, the legal systems have been infiltrated not only by the necessary limitations, but also by excessive and ineffective restrictive measures that are not suited to contain the infection and are incompatible with the principles of a pluralistic democracy. The article scrutinizes the latter statement focusing on anti-COVID-19 measures that impose restrictions on freedoms of peaceful assembly and speech. We resort to the criteria of the lawfulness of restrictions that stem from the principle of proportionality (legitimate aim, rational connection, necessity and proportionality stricto sensu). In the chapter devoted to the freedom of assembly, the author looks at different approaches that the states take to addressing the risks that public manifestations pose to public health in times of the pandemic. The comparative study also uncovers the differences in the relative value of freedom of assembly as opposed to that of «epidemiological safety». In the chapter devoted to the new limitations of freedom of speech, the author focuses on provisions that prevent the distribution of misinformation regarding COVID-19 and measures taken against it, adopted by several states, including Russia. The proportionality analysis shows that measures to counter fake news present an example of abuse of extraordinary powers to suppress public debate and limit the citizens’ right to criticize the government. The author comes to a conclusion that a blanket ban on small-scale manifestations and the liability for distribution of false information regarding COVID-19 and measures taken to fight it are disproportionate measures that are by no means justified by the aim of protecting public health in times of the pandemic.
The article analyzes the judgment of the Constitutional Court of Ukraine, which ruled that the Law on the condemnation of communist and national socialist totalitarian regimes and the prohibition of the propaganda of their symbols complies with the provisions of the Constitution. A general description of the socio-political and intra-judicial atmosphere in which this decision was adopted is given. The conclusion is made that under the circumstances of global instability, constitutional judiciary in Ukraine had to turn to the historical arguments, sometimes exploiting these arguments. In this regard, several procedural issues are identified that arise in the context of the legitimacy of such kind of argumentation in court’s judgments. The key role of the judge rapporteur in the preparation of the draft of the final judgment subsequently adopted by a majority in the Court is emphasized. The author carries out a detailed analysis of the argumentation of the final judgment, sequentially picking the motives that guided the Court in formulating the relevant conclusions. The conclusion is drawn about a peculiar crisis of historical consciousness, which can characterize both the transitional society as a whole and the particular professional group. An analysis is being made of the judgment adopted by the Court with respect to its compliance with the European standards on the limitations of political activities. In particular, the author comes to the conclusion that while reviewing the constitutionality of this law, the Court tried to use the proportionality test, which traditionally takes place in cases involving the restriction of rights and freedoms. Nevertheless, having highlighted the legitimate aim of adopting the law and focusing most of the motivation to it, the Court actually neglected other elements of this test, first of all, the clarification of the proportionality of the restrictions introduced. In addition, the author raises the question of the procedural status of information of a historical nature, to which the constitutional court refers in its decisions. It is proposed to consider historical facts, in relation to which there is a certain consensus in science, as generally accepted and, as a result, not requiring special proof. In the cases where there is no such consensus, the constitutional court has the right to appoint an examination in order to secure the opinion of an expert historian.
In the present article an institute of individual constitutional complaint in the Republic of Slovenia is analyzed. A special attention is paid to the changes in the legal regulations that have taken place as a result of reforms in the constitutional proceedings in 2007. The author focuses on such legal categories as admissibility and acceptability of application, and also on procedure of their prior examination in order to resolve the question of accepting them for consideration. The author comes to the conclusion that these restrictions and procedures must not only meet the demands of the effectiveness and efficiency of trial, but also to comply with requirements of accessibility of justice.
The author analyses the requirements of the Constitution of the Russian Federation which ensure enforcement of international legal standards of human rights and freedoms as well as the significance of these constitutional provisions for supporting Russia’s application to join the Council of Europe. The article also considers the circle of subjects in within the Russian legal system responsible for the judicial implementation of conventional rules of protection of the fundamental rights and freedoms translating the supranational regulation in this sphere onto the constitutional level. The author emphasises the consistency of constitutional fundamentals of the constitutional system with the rights and freedoms of citizens, as well as the importance of the principle of subsidiarity in the European Court jurisdiction as a basis of its interaction with national legal systems – in order to harmonize the positions of the latter and to ensure the enforcement of supranational judicial decisions. The article stresses the need for and the possibilities of the dialogue between national and international courts to help more efficient and effective development of the universal human rights system based on the recognition of both international standards and specific features of national legal institutions.
This article examines the logic of constitutional transformation in countries of Eastern Europe and Russia during the period which started from the fall of Communism in the 1990s and up to the most recent legal and political upheavals. Without question, the initial liberal impulse that inspired the whole democratic transition in countries of the region has been dissolved and substituted by a new conservative political orientation rooted in feelings of alienation, disappointment, inconsistency, and aggressive nationalistic reaction to constitutional modernization. Why has this new trend become so visible in political life and so influential in the current agenda of constitutional counter-reforms, and where are the natural limits for its fulfillment? In order to answer these questions, the author proposes a conceptual framework: a theory of constitutional cycles that reveal the dynamism of legal transformation as the shift of social priorities from the abandonment of an old constitutional model to the reception of a new one with a subsequent phase of constitutional abeyance that potentially could result in a more or less visible restoration of traditional forms and methods of constitutional regulation. This big constitutional cycle is coming to its end in Eastern Europe and Russia, making relevant the analysis of such phenomenon as constitutional re-traditionalisation (or re-constitutionalisation). From this angle, the author presents theoretical grounds for this study, analyses the typology and main characteristic features of the constitutional re-traditionalisation process in countries of the region, the evident and implicit functions in legal and political development regarding such items as the search of new national identity, conservative reinterpretation of fundamental legal rights, authoritarian corrections in the system of separation of powers, the suppression of independent constitutional justice, and public policy regulation. Being an apparent challenge to classic European liberal values, this trend, as the author concludes, has its own logic and limits. The crucial itinerary line in this development is the destiny of political pluralism, the real independence of constitutional justice, and the capability of elites to protect or repudiate these values for their own interests.