The 15th anniversary of the Constitution of the Russian Federation
Russians celebrate the 15th anniversary of the Constitution of the Russian Federation which is quite significant. The fundamental Law is being modified for the first time ever. That is why the preparation for this big event has begun long time ahead. Moreover, the celebration of Constitution Day will feature demonstrations and events for the first time as well.
It was Dmitry Medvedev, President of the Russian Federation, who proposed the amendments in fundamental Law. In a message to the Federal Assembly, he proposed to increase the term of office for a President and the State Duma to six and five years; to oblige the government account to the legislative authority. Although Medvedev emphasized that it is not a question of a reform, but only an adjustment of the Constitution. So there is no use of the “reformative buzz in approaching fundamental Law” because “the Constitution of the Russian Federation is efficient, it works out, and its fundamental regulations should remain stable for years.” At the same time, Medvedev believes that the country's movement towards freedom and democracy will be “successful and steady” only if the authority of the President and the State Duma is based “not on the pre-election promises only, but also on work results, if they have enough time to put all mentioned above into effect.”
Dmitry Medvedev was the first state leader who decided to take the step forward and propose such amendments to fundamental Law, which have already been on everyone’s lips for a long time before. Vladimir Putin, his predecessor, has repeatedly declared he would not allow editing of the Constitution, stressing that it has not yet exhausted its potentialities. Meanwhile, he considered the amendments proposed by Medvedev well-timed and well-taken. While a recent teleconference with citizens Putin stressed that “there are no fundamental changes in the President’s proposal that can change the fundamentals of the constitutional system.” According to him, “it is not about eliminating the principle of top political leadership of the country replacement.” As to the term of office extension for a president, “I think it is a well-founded proposal for such a huge country like Russia.”
Valery Zorkin, Chairman of the Constitutional Court of the Russian Federation expressed his opinion on the amendments in the run-up to its 15th anniversary. “The fundamental Law is not a sacred cow, and, of course, it may be amended in a slight way, so the structure of the Constitution would not change,” he said, noting that in this case it is a matter of these kind of changes exactly.
The amendment to increase the term of office for a President and the State Duma is already approved by both chambers. Now at least two thirds of the regional Legislative Assemblies have to support it. It is expected the procedure to be over by the end of December. According to sociological surveys services, the Bashkirova and partners company in particularly, almost half (46%) of Russians approve the amendments. Meanwhile, among politicians there are both following and opponents of the amendments for the fundamental Law. For that reason the city authorities have approbate several public events today.
The United Russia party will hold meeting of five thousand at Pushkin Square in the support of the amendment in the Constitution. The members of this party will appeal to “respect the fundamental Law by being a patriot” and remind that “it is not possible to build a democracy without the laws executing.” Nashi, a political youth movement will take the lead after the United Russia meeting. About three thousand people will gather at Vasilevsky descent to select Miss Constitution. According to Nikita Borovikov, federal Commissioner of the movement, this girl should be “as right as the letter of the law, as clear as the heads of law language, and as perfect as the language of provision in the law.” Meanwhile, the streets will be full of fighters for the Constitution of 1993 to stay preserved as before. Representatives of the Russian United Democratic Party Yabloko, the Movement Against Illegal Immigration, the Slavic Union and others will also come along.
The current Constitution is the fifth in the history of Russia and the first adopted by popular voting at the referendum on December 12th, 1993. It was a difficult time for the country. “The fundamental Law was adopted at the time when there was no social compliance, there was a split of the political leaders,” Sergei Shahrai, one of the authors of the Constitution of the Russian Federation says. “A document that would unite everyone” had to be made, but “it was impossible to reduce to a common denominator.” Therefore, it was decided to fix about “ten values” shared by all the political sources in the Constitution of 1993. Shahrai believes that the past 15 years have shown that the document turned out to be effective.
According to the majority of politicians, political scientists and experts, the role of the Constitution of 1993 in the establishment of the new Russian state is immense. Vladimir Pligin, Head of the Duma Committee on Constitutional Legislation and State Building is convinced that the Constitution saved the country from disintegration. “At that time, 15 years ago, there were a big danger of internal conflict outbreaks and a disintegration of state,” he recalled on the threshold of the anniversary date. To his mind, the text of the fundamental Law is not devoid of “romanticism and idealism”. But he is convinced this fact brings certain “mysticism” comparable to “the Torah, the Koran and the Bible”.
Moreover, these thoughts of Pligin are shared by other politicians. On the occasion of the fundamental Law anniversary, the National Union of Calligraphers prepared the only handwritten copy of the Constitution of the Russian federation, which can be seen at the Contemporary Museum of Calligraphy these days. This unique book is executed in a special designed font. A special ink and paper were also made for it. The work on the handwritten text lasted for five months. Apparently, now calligraphers will have to start all over again.
Today Moscow will host a scientific conference dedicated to the 15th anniversary of the Constitution of the Russian Federation since its adoption. According to the Kremlin’s press service, Dmitry Medvedev, the President of Russia will take part in it.
Source: ITAR-TASS Ural, news agency (www.itartass.ur.ru)