Higher School of Economics shrugs off reports on its involvement in new Russian constitution drafting allegedly contracted by Khodorkovsky

Russian Constitutional Court file photo

MOSCOW. April 30 (Interfax) – Russia’s Higher School of Economics (HSE) said that it has nothing to do with any drafting of the new Russian constitution allegedly ordered by former Yukos chief Mikhail Khodorkovsky.

“The National Research University Higher School of Economics is out of politics and does not engage in personal projects of any participants in the political process,” the HSE press service told Interfax on Friday in a comment on the recent media reports that a new constitution draft had been created by HSE experts on Khodorkovsky’s order.

A press officer also noted that a few new constitutions are drafted annually at HSE, as the drafting of legislative acts, including the Constitution, is a widespread teaching method in the training of lawyers, which helps combine theoretical knowledge with practical skills.

This is a kind of research project that is particularly used for benefit of fellow professors in constitutional law and administrative law departments at HSE, the press officer said. Constitutions drafted by students under their projects are available to the public and HSE does not mind politicians using them, provided that they make a reference to the origin, according to the press officer.

“However, engagement of the university’s expert resources in any political projects, let alone the use of the HSE name in such a context, is unacceptable for us. Experts say that an actual change to the currently applicable constitution must be subject to some broadest popular consensus,” the press officer said.

Several media reported earlier that Khodorkovsky is allegedly involved in drafting a new Russian constitution and that several experts in constitutional law, including some HSE professors, are currently working on this project.

[featured image is file photo, not directly related to article subject matter]