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Regular version of the site

Book

CONSTITUTION AND ECONOMY AFTER PUTIN: a roadmap for a New Russia

Washington: Free Russia, 2018.

quarter of a century has passed since the Constitution
of the Russian Federation was adopted in 1993, yet the
issue of the results and the prospects for constitutional
transformation has not disappeared from the political
agenda. For some, the Constitution signifies an ultimate
break up with the communist past and a legal foundation
for the advancement of the Russian society toward
democracy and the rule of law; for the others, it is exactly
the Constitution that is the culprit for the authoritarian
trend that has prevailed, and for the sustained stagnation
in Russia’s economic, social and political development.
The author of this chapter is in the middle of these
extreme viewpoints. He believes that the Constitution
has truly played a pivotal role in Russia’s move toward
democracy by establishing the basic principles of civil
society and the rule of law, and in this respect, it remains
of everlasting and paramount importance. Nevertheless,
that does not mean that it should be utterly inaccessible
for changes, especially given the elapsed time and the
negative experience of the authoritarian transformation
of the political regime, the amendments that were
introduced between2008 and 2014, and the current
objectives of the democratic movement.
The rationale for changes is to return to the constitutional
principles, reaffirm their initial democratic meaning by
rejecting the excessive concentration of the Presidential
power, the results of counter-reforms and the adulteration
through legislative and regulatory compliance practices.
Some of the proposed remedies aim to establish a
new form of government (Presidential - Parliamentary),
which would necessitate Constitutional amendments —
adjustments that would regulate the separation of powers
and redistribution of authority. Others seek to transform
the system without changing the text of the Constitution
through legislative reforms, judicial interpretation and
the policy of law. Yet, the third approach prioritizes
institutional reforms. Not everything in social development
depends on the provisions of the law, political
improvisation and practice can prove just as critical.
In their cumulative entirety such initiatives can help
avoid the two extremes: that of constitutional stagnation
gravitating toward the bureaucratic asphyxiation, and
that of constitutional populism which has a tendency to
destabilize the political system. In its practical activities
to transform the political regime, the opposition ought
to remember the maximum repeatedly confirmed by
experience, — the further a party is from power, the more
radical tend to be its constitutional proposals. Conversely,
empowered groups tend to be more moderate in their
initiatives.


















































CONSTITUTION AND ECONOMY AFTER PUTIN: a roadmap for a New Russia