JRL NEWSWATCH: “Belarus Leader Proposes Vote on Constitution Reforms” – AFP

Alyaksandr Lukeshenko file photo, adapted from image at usembassy.gov

“… Lukashenko on Monday discussed plans for a referendum on constitutional reforms …. The 66-year-old … fac[es] his greatest challenge yet [in his 26-year rule,] following three weekends of giant protests in Minsk over a disputed August 9 [election] where he claimed victory over … popular opposition candidate[] Svetlana Tikhanovskaya. Lukashenko has twice before held such referendums, pushing through changes […]

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Putin Driving Russia to Where the USSR was in 1991, Zyuganov Says

Kremlin and River

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, June 22, 2020) Gennady Zyuganov, the leader of the KPRF which is the only parliamentary party that has come out against approving the constitutional amendments by referendum, says that Vladimir Putin’s recent actions have been “not simply disappointing but depressing.” In the course of a wide-ranging 3,000-word interview with Anastaya Melnikova of […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Vote to Extend Putin’s Rule Faces Little Protest in Russia” – AP

Aerial View of Kremlin and Environs

“They’ve offered prizes ranging from gift certificates to cars and apartments. … put up billboards … enlisted celebrities to urge a ‘yes’ vote. … encouraged state-run businesses like hospitals and schools to pressure employees to register at the polls. Russian authorities seem to be pulling out all the stops to get people to vote on constitutional amendments that would enable […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Putin Puts His Post-Covid Comeback to a Vote; Buffeted by things he can’t control, Russia’s president turns to a tried and true method for affirming his power” – Bloomberg/ Clara Ferreira Marques

Putin at Desk

“[Putin] has not had a good pandemic. [b]ut … is staging a comeback, with a touch of foreign-policy grandstanding, a dash of military theater and a plebiscite on constitutional reforms that could allow him to stay in power until 2036. The vote will confirm changes already approved by parliament in March[] and … didn’t have to happen now. Even so, […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Russia Starts Early Voting on Reform Extending Putin’s Rule” – AP

File Photo of Vladimir Putin at Podium with United Russia Logo, Gesturing

“Russia’s far eastern region of Kamchatka has kicked off early voting on the constitutional reform that would allow … Putin to stay in power until 2036, with election officials traveling to remote areas and bringing ballots to residents who don’t have access to polling stations. Early voting … has been officially allowed since June 10 – 20 days ahead of […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Putin’s Foes Divided Over Russian Vote That Could Extend His Rule” – Reuters

Kremlin and River

“… Putin’s opponents agree a nationwide vote next month that could extend his rule is a sham, but are split over … [supporting] a ‘No’ vote or … a boycott. … [On] July 1 … Russians … vote to approve or reject constitutional reforms including … allow[ing] Putin to serve two more six-year terms … instead of stepping down in […]

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RUSSIALINK: “Communists Campaign Against Reforms Giving Putin More Years in Power” – Moscow Times

Kremlin and Saint Basil's File Photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – June 5, 2020) Russia’s Communist Party has launched a campaign urging supporters to vote against a set of constitutional amendments that would allow President Vladimir Putin to stay in power for the next decade and a half. Russians are set to vote on July 1 to approve Putin’s changes to Russia’s basic law that would, […]

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Referendum on Russian Constitutional Amendments Raises Ever More Questions

File Photo of Kremlin Tower, St. Basil's, Red Square at Night

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, April 10, 2020) Because of the pandemic, the Kremlin has delayed its plans for a constitutional amendment referendum from April 22 to some as yet unspecified date in the future, a delay that has not calmed but rather intensified discussions about it, both political and technical, Yuliya Krivonosova says. The Moscow journalist […]

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The Putin Constitution

Kremlin and River

(Kennan Institute – wilsoncenter.org/program/kennan-institute – William E. Pomeranz, Deputy Director of the Wilson Center’s Kennan Institute – March 30, 2020) In the end, it was all a big show. Putin unleashed constitutional reform in his January 15, 2020, state of the nation address with a hint of institutional change and a theoretical path forward to a post-Putin era. He formally […]

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Constitutional Change a Turning Point in Russia’s History and Quite Possibly Not in the Direction Moscow Wants, Garifullin Says

Aerial View of Kremlin and Environs

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, March 14, 2010) Most residents of the Russian Federation are at present indifferent as far as the constitutional amendments are concerned either because they have been reduced from the status of citizens to mere populace or because no one has explained why these changes are needed or what they will mean, Ilnar […]

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Vladimir Gelman: “An intention to preserve the political status quo and Putin’s authority is seen in the constitutional reform”

File Photo of Kremlin Tower, St. Basil's, Red Square at Night

(Institute of Modern Russia – imrussia.org – Olga Khvostunova – February 27, 2020) Olga Khvostunova is IMR’s political analyst and researcher. In an interview with IMR, political scientist Vladimir Gelman, professor of the European University in St. Petersburg and the University of Helsinki, discusses the origins of Russia’s bad governance, the goals of Vladimir Putin’s recent political initiatives, and the […]

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RUSSIALINK: “Count of presidencies in Russia may be set to zero, Putin may serve as president past 2024 – pundit” – Interfax

Vladimir Putin file photo with VOA logo; screen shot from video still

MOSCOW. Feb 28 (Interfax) – The number of presidential terms served by Russian presidents could well be set back to zero after the Russian Constitution is amended, Center for Current Policy Director Alexei Chesnakov said. “Thus far, nobody can predict Russian President Vladimir Putin’s precise place in a future system of governance with all confidence, leaning on legal and political […]

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RUSSIALINK: “Bill on amendments to Russian Constitution may pass 2nd reading in State Duma on March 10 – Krasheninnikov” – Interfax

Russian State Duma Building file photo

MOSCOW. Feb 26 (Interfax) – A proposal will be made to hold the second reading of the bill on amendments to the Russian Constitution in the State Duma on March 10, Pavel Krasheninnikov, co-chair of the working group in charge of amendments to the Constitution, said. “We will suggest holding the second reading on March 10,” Krasheninnikov said at a […]

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RUSSIALINK: “Proposed date for public vote on amendments to Russian Constitution is April 22 – Klishas” – Interfax

Russian Constitutional Court file photo

MOSCOW. Feb 26 (Interfax) – Co-chair of the working group on amendments to the Russian Constitution Andrei Klishas has proposed holding a nationwide vote on changes to the fundamental law on April 22 and making this day a non-working day. “Allow us to propose April 22, 2020 as the date of the nationwide vote,” Klishas said at a meeting between […]

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RUSSIALINK: “Russian constitutional amendments to clarify Security Council’s role” – Interfax

Russian State Duma Building file photo

MOSCOW. Feb 18 (Interfax) – Russian constitutional amendments proposed for the second reading would put the Security Council in charge of preventing domestic and foreign treats, head of the Russian State Duma Committee for State Building and Legislation Pavel Krasheninnikov said. “It has been proposed that Article 83 clarify the powers of the Security Council led by the president [of […]

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RUSSIALINK: “The Near-Instant Death of Russia’s Constitution” – Kennan Institute/ Sergey Parkhomenko

Russian Constitutional Court file photo

(Kennan Institute – wilsoncenter.org/program/kennan-institute – Sergey Parkhomenko – Jan. 23, 2020) Sergey Parkhomenko is a Russian journalist, publisher, and founder of several projects aimed at developing civic activism and promoting liberal values in Russia. This article is an abridged and edited translation of this Russian-language original. As President Vladimir Putin wound up his annual address to the Federal Assembly, many […]

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RUSSIALINK: “Amendments to Constitution to be put to public vote following approval by State Duma, Federation Council – Krasheninnikov” – Interfax

Russian State Duma Building file photo

MOSCOW. Jan 20 (Interfax) – Head of the State Duma State Building and Legislation Committee Pavel Krasheninnikov has clarified the procedure for endorsing the bill on constitutional amendments. “Today, the text, to which amendments will be added for a second reading, was submitted. We have plenty of proposals; in particular, the issue concerning a Russian nationwide vote. It is clear […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Kremlin Opens Door to Changing Constitution as Succession Looms” – Bloomberg/ Henry Meyer

File Photo of Vladimir Putin at Podium with United Russia Logo, Gesturing

“The Kremlin raised the possibility of changing Russia’s Constitution after a top lawmaker proposed bolstering parliament’s powers, in a move that could help to extend … Putin’s rule. … constitutional amendments, including allowing parliament a say in forming the government, received ‘a widespread response’ and are ‘a matter for discussion,’ Putin’s spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, told reporters …. Putin in 2024 […]

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RUSSIALINK: “Adjustments to Russian Constitution have to be pinpointed – Volodin” – Interfax

Russian State Duma Building file photo

MOSCOW. July 17 (Interfax) – The basic values envisaged by the Constitution should stay unchanged and amendments should help realize them in life, Russian State Duma Speaker Vyacheslav Volodin said. “No doubt, we are not talking about changing and revising the basic provisions of the Constitution. They are unshakeable. On the contrary, we need to speak about how to realize […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “The Rocky Road to Replacing Vladimir Putin” – Chatham House (UK)/ Andrew Wood

File Photo of Kremlin Tower, St. Basil's, Red Square at Night

The transition to Putin’s constitutionally scheduled replacement as president of Russia may be rougher than currently expected. “… an ordered and stable succession … when … Putin leaves the presidency in May 2024 … is … questionable. Those close to the Kremlin are aging, like Putin. None … has a glimmer of independent authority within the ruling cabal, not even […]

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RUSSIALINK: “No need for constitutional adjustments, fundamental changes – Medvedev” – Interfax

Dmitri Medvedev file photo

MOSCOW. April 6 (Interfax) – The Russian Constitution does not require fundamental changes and any addition to the political system must not and may not affect human rights and the provisions on the form of government in the country, Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said. “I want to stress that no adjustments, no fundamental changes to the current constitution, which I […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Volodin proposes expansion of Duma powers” – Bear Market Brief

Russian State Duma Building file photo

“… Duma chairman Vyacheslav Volodin is lobbying for constitutional changes … [to] expand the power of the Duma in an attempt to improve the relative balance of power and checks and balances within government …. The Kremlin is actively downplaying talk, likely trying to head off any progress so it can shape outcomes. Nothing Volodin could propose would fix the […]

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1993 Constitution Not to Blame for Putin’s Authoritarian System, Shelin Says

File Photo of Kremlin Tower, St. Basil's, Red Square at Night

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, December 12, 2018) Many analysts are inclined to blame the presidentialist nature of the 1993 Russian Constitution for the rise of authoritarianism under Vladimir Putin; but Sergey Shelin argues that is a mistake and that Putin’s approach to rule “arose not because a quarter of a century ago this document was adopted.” […]

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RUSSIALINK TRANSCRIPT: “[Putin at] Meeting with Constitutional Court Chairman Valery Zorkin” – KremlinRu

Russian Constitutional Court file photo

(Kremlin.ru – December 12, 2018) Vladimir Putin met with Constitutional Court Chairman Valery Zorkin in the Kremlin. President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Mr Zorkin, greetings on Constitution Day. This is not an ordinary Constitution Day, because today is the 25th anniversary of the country’s fundamental law. The Constitutional Court bears special responsibility for ensuring compliance with this crucial legal instrument. […]

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RUSSIALINK TRANSCRIPT: “[Putin at] Reception marking the 25th anniversary of the Constitution’ – KremlinRu

File Photo of Kremlin Aerial View, adapted from .gov source

(Kremlin.ru – December 12, 2018) Vladimir Putin attended a reception at the Kremlin to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the adoption of the Russian Federation Constitution. Invited guests included Government members, representatives of the Federation Council and the State Duma, federal executive and judicial bodies, and government bodies of the Russian regions, as well as representatives of religious denominations, public […]

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Russia’s Top Judge Spurs New Talk Of Changing Constitution

Russian Constitutional Court file photo

(Article ©2018 RFE/RL, Inc., Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty – rferl.org – Mike Eckel – October 16, 2018 – also appeared at rferl.org/a/russia-s-top-judge-spurs-new-talk-of-changing-constitution/29547265.html) When the Russian Constitution was approved in late 1993, the fledgling country’s parliament building– now known as the White House– was blackened and charred, the result of an all-out military assault ordered by President Boris Yeltsin to quell […]

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Russians have Three Serious Misconceptions about 1993 Constitution and Its Implications, Shelin Says

File Photo of Parliament Building Billowing Smoke in 1993

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, June 6, 2018) Twenty-five years ago this week, Boris Yeltsin convened a constitutional convention in Moscow which produced a draft that was then ratified by referendum after “a small civil war” took place in which Yeltsin crushed “the Khasbulatov parliament,” Sergey Shelin says. Because of that congeries of events, the Rosbalt commentator […]

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RUSSIALINK TRANSCRIPT: “[Medvedev at] The 8th St Petersburg International Legal Forum” – GovernmentRu

Dmitri Medvedev file photo

(Government.ru – May 16, 2018) Dmitry Medvedev attended a plenary session titled Future of the Legal Profession. The St Petersburg International Legal Forum was launched in 2011 and is a major platform for dialogue between politicians, lawyers, economists and researchers representing all the main economic and legal systems. The forum seeks to promote ways to modernise the law in the […]

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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,” […]

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Constitutional Crisis in Russia and How to Resolve It

File Photo of Kremlin Tower, St. Basil's, Red Square at Night

(Institute of Modern Russia – imrussia.org – March 28, 2016) [Full report here imrussia.org/en/news/2540-constitutional-crisis-in-russia-and-how-to-resolve-it] Today, there is every indication that Russia is facing an anti-constitutional coup. Power is being concentrated in the hands of unconstitutional authorities who have replaced constitutional institutions. It isn’t clear who Russia is governed by, let alone who controls its people. What are the specifics of […]

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[Khodorkovsky:] Who is to blame for what happened to the Russian Constitution, and What do we do about it now?

Russian Constitutional Court file photo

(Institute for Modern Russia – imrussia.org – Mikhail Khodorkovsky – December 17, 2015) Mikhail Khodorkovsky, founder of the Open Russia movement, discusses why the Russian Constitution is “no more than a piece of paper-a sham symbol of federalism, freedom and democracy.” December 12, Russia’s Constitution Day, was marked by the detention of one of the Constitution’s authors for organizing a […]

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Russian Justice Ministry Accuses Memorial Of Calling For Regime Change

File Photo of Kremlin Tower, St. Basil's, Red Square at Night

(RFE/RL – rferl.org – RFE/RL’s Russian Service – November 10, 2015) Russia’s Justice Ministry has accused the prominent nongovernmental organization Memorial of “undermining the foundations of the constitutional order of the Russian Federation” and of calling for “a change of political regime” in the country. The ministry sent the Memorial Human Rights Center notification of the accusations on November 9 […]

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Russia Celebrates Constitution, But Few Russians Know What It Says

Russian Constitutional Court file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – December 12, 2014) Russia celebrates Constitution Day on Friday, a poll shows a vast majority of citizens have no knowledge of what their country’s Constitution actually says, but four in ten still believe it protects their rights, a recent poll indicated. A total of 41 percent of respondents said they had never read the Constitution, […]

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Interfax: Amnesty declared is compromise – Russian human rights commissioner Lukin

Vladimir Lukin file photo

MOSCOW. Dec 18 (Interfax) – The amnesty declared by the State Duma should be considered clemency and another amnesty over 100th anniversary since the World War I began should be declared in 2014, Russian human rights commissioner Vladimir Lukin said. “I treat positively any measures of the state aimed at easing the fate of people,” Lukin told Interfax regarding the […]

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Duma Set to Pass Amnesty Bill This Week

Russian Jail File Photo Showing Outer Wall, Windows, Barbed Wire

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Gabrielle Tétrault-Farber – December 17, 2013) The State Duma will vote Tuesday in a first reading on President Vladimir Putin’s draft bill to grant amnesty to certain categories of prisoners, a piece of legislation that could exonerate high-profile detainees despite what critics say are its narrow criteria. As part of an effort to free space […]

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Lost Cause: On the 20th Anniversary of the Russian Constitution

Russian Constitutional Court file photo

(Institute of Modern Russia – imrussia.org – Ekaterina Mishina – December 12, 2013) December 12 marks the 20th anniversary of the Constitution of the Russian Federation. According to some estimates, over $600,000 were spent on pompous celebration activities. Meanwhile, as IMR legal expert Ekaterina Mishina notes, the constitution has begun to be treated as a fetish, while its real content […]

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Hands off the Constitution [Interview with Viktor Sheinis]

Russian Constitutional Court file photo

(Kennan Institute – wilsoncenter.org/program/kennan-institute – Ekaterina Alexeeva – December 12, 2013) Widely regarded as one of the authors of the Constitution, Viktor Sheinis is chief researcher at the Institute of World Economy and International Relations at the Russian Academy of Sciences. He spoke with Ekaterina Alexeeva, Program Manager and Editor, Kennan Moscow Project on the occasion of the Tenth Starovoitova […]

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Interfax: Zorkin: revolutions bring enormous suffering, society must live within constitutional framework

Russian Constitutional Court file photo

ST. PETERSBURG. Dec 12 (Interfax) – International terrorism, extremism and crime may jeopardize the Russian constitutional system, Russian Constitutional Court Chairman Valery Zorkin said. “The constitution’s anniversary should inspire all people who are not indifferent to holding a profound discussion of any possible threats to the constitutional system of our country. This is the question of international terrorism, extremism and […]

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Interfax: Naryshkin declares importance of constitution’s stability

Russian Duma Building

MOSCOW. Dec 9 (Interfax) – State Duma Speaker Sergei Naryshkin has noted the importance of the stability of the Russian constitution and the delicate attitude of Russian society and the authorities towards it. “The stability of the Russian constitution is of special importance for our country,” Naryshkin said at a joint meeting of two houses of the Russian Federal Assembly […]

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Interfax: Human Rights’ Council opposed to constitutional amendments, favors broad amnesty

Russian Jail File Photo Showing Outer Wall, Windows, Barbed Wire

MOSCOW. Dec 9 (Interfax) – The presidential Human Rights’ Council believes that the amnesty expected to be declared on the occasion of the 20th anniversary of the constitution should be full-fledged and broad while attempts to change the constitution are impermissible. “We regard with bewilderment and concern the increasingly frequent attempts to change the constitution, in particular, its preamble and […]

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RIA Novosti: Putin Supports Mass Amnesty Proposal

Russian Jail File Photo Showing Outer Wall, Windows, Barbed Wire

NOVO-OGARYOVO, December 4 (RIA Novosti) ­ President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday expressed his support for granting amnesty to perhaps tens of thousands of Russian prisoners in honor of the 20th anniversary of the country’s constitution. “I agree with your proposals in general,” Putin told the head of the Kremlin’s Human Rights Council, which had suggested the amnesty. “We are going […]

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Interfax: Russian church calls for broad debate of idea for special role of Orthodox faith in Constitution

Archpriest Vsevolad Chaplin file photo

MOSCOW. Nov 26 (Interfax) – There is a need for an open and broad public debate on the proposal to reflect in the Constitution the special role of Orthodox faith, Archpriest Vsevolod Chaplin, the head of the synodal department on relations between the church and society, said. “Such initiatives, like any public, ideological, and legislative initiatives, can and should be […]

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Interfax: Matviyenko calls for careful treatment of Russian Constitution

Valentina Matviyenko file photo

MOSCOW. Nov 25 (Interfax) – Federation Council Speaker Valentina Matviyenko believes it is wrong to make drastic changes to the fundamental provisions of the Russian Constitution. “I don’t see any need to make amendments to the Constitution. There is no need for it and this issue should be approached very carefully,” Matviyenko said during a meeting with young legislators from […]

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Hope Springs Eternal Even On The Very Brink Of Winter

Russian Constitutional Court file photo

Date: Wed, 27 Nov 2013 Subject: Hope Springs Eternal Even On The Very Brink Of Winter From: Robert Teets <rmtlaw@gmail.com> Hope Springs Eternal Even On The Very Brink Of Winter Today saw the first snowfall in Moscow, albeit with its melting as soon as the snowflakes touched the still unfrozen earth. With a constitutional jubilee soon to be upon us, […]

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Interfax: Matviyenko calls for respect of Russian Constitution

Valentina Matviyenko file photo

MOSCOW. Nov 14 (Interfax) – Russian Federation Council Valentina Matviyenko believes the resources of the Russian Constitution have not been exhausted yet and the issue of changing it should be approached very carefully. “We should treat the Constitution very carefully. We should always remember that this document determines the long-term national development and is far from having exhausted its resources […]

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Changing the Russian Constitution Fraught with Dangers, Experts Say

Russian Constitutional Court file photo

(Window on Eurasia – Paul Goble – Staunton, November 18, 2013) The Moscow media are full of stories that President Vladimir Putin plans to propose changes in the 1993 Russian Constitution in a message to the Federal Assembly on December 12 and will announce the establishment of a special 90-person Presidential council to consider and draft revisions. But some Russian […]

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Interfax: Shakhrai: even minor adjustment of constitution may open “Pandora’s box” of political instability

Kremlin and St. Basil's

ST. PETERSBURG. Nov 14 (Interfax) – The Russian constitution is still up-to-date and does not need any alterations, constitution co-author, merited lawyer of Russia Sergei Shakhrai declared. “The constitution of 1993 is 20 years old, which means this fundamental document is still up-to-date and has creative potential,” he told the audience at a conference, “Modern Constitutionalism. Conclusions and Prospects”, in […]

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Interfax: Constitutional Court chairman opposed to alteration of constitution

Russian Constitutional Court file photo

ST. PETERSBURG. Nov 14 (Interfax) – The 20-year-old Russian constitution has commendably withstood the test of time, Russian Constitutional Court Chairman Valery Zorkin said. “The constitution has been tested during this drastic historic turn in the country’s life,” he told the audience at a conference, “Modern Constitutionalism. Conclusions and Prospects”, in St. Petersburg on Thursday. “It [the constitution] prevented the […]

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Interfax: Socio-cultural split in Russia can be overcome – Constitution Court Chairman

Russian Constitutional Court file photo

MOSCOW. Nov 14 (Interfax) – Public accord in Russia is attainable and its legal grounds are the basis of the Russian Constitution, which has considerable potential for legal reforms, Russian Constitution Court Chairman Valery Zorkin said. A number of research publications emerged in the field of Russian social science in the recent years and they allow that Russia has a […]

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