The Russian Constitution
After the collapse of the Soviet Union and the whole world’s Communist system, the human civilization had real hope for the further peaceful life in new democratic society. The world became unipolar because Russia, the most populated country in Europe, had recognized private property and the establishment of the market economic relations, renouncing the Communist ideology. The spring of 1992 was the crucial period in the whole Russian history, in which its Parliament had tried to create a new constitution to fix the major principles of democracy: the supremacy of laws, the human rights protection, and the establishment of the market economy. The goal of the paper is to analyze weak and strong statements of the Russian constitution for protecting the democratic achievements. In the case of Russia, no matter how progressive its constitution is, real democratic society will emerge there when people understand all profits of democracy, real freedom, and they will be ready for making real economic and political reforms. The United Kingdom, for example, has never had any constitution but it had managed to create real democratic society.
A prominent American scholar, Professor of Department of Political Science University of California, Philip G. Roeder created the work “Russia: Democratization Gone Awry,” in which he had analyzed and explained the political situation in Russia after the disintegration of the Soviet Union. This was a great historical event of the 20th century as it had caused the collapse of the world’s communist system, the political and economic order that constantly endangered the security and existence of the whole human civilization by simply having nuclear weapons. From the very beginning of his chapter in Josephine Andrews’s work Comparative Politics, Professor Roeder narrates the brief history of the Russian Empire by making more comprehensive both historical events in modern Russia and the reasons that caused great problems on its way to democracy. Unfortunately, Professor Roeder could not avoid some common misconceptions in the Russian history, which became the crucial points of the modern policy of Vladimir Putin. Thus, Putin sees himself as a great democrat, the savior of nations from modern Nazism, and the consolidator of all territories and lands of the former Russian Empire. For example, according to Professor Roeder, the bloody wars in Chechnya were a civil war (103), although this statement is rather problematic.
Professor Roeder calls the Empire of Romanoff’s Dynasty as the second Russian state because “[t]he first (Kievan Rus) had emerged around the town of Kiev in the latter half of the ninth century, but it collapsed from its internal divisions” (104). Nevertheless, he recognizes that “[b]y 1480… the grand dukes of Muscovey began to style themselves tsars” (Roeder 104). According to Professor Roeder, after the collapse of the Kievan Rus, “Russian” tsars emerged only by 1480 from “the grand dukes of Muscovey.” It is a rather rough interpretation of history because the first King of Rus’ was Daniel of Galicia, crowned in Dorohochyn in 1253 (Saunders 101). He ruled until 1264. The Kingdom of Rus’ was an independent state, while Moscovia (a correct name for the contemporary territory of Russia) was a vassal of the Golden Horde at that time. Michael Khodorkovsky is more categorical in his considerations when states that because of their Asiatic neighbors, the inhabitants of Moscovia “appear to have been largely oblivious to the category of racial identity until the eighteenth century, when they began to identify themselves more closely with Europe and European civilization” (3). Therefore, a huge cultural, educational, economic, and political gape emerged between two parts of the former Kievan Rus’ territories that later became two different nations - Ukrainians and Russians. At the same time, various political speculations and prejudices still exist in the modern Russian policy concerning Ukraine as the former Russian (Moscovian) colony, populated by the inferior ethnical group of the “great” Russian nation. Unfortunately, the majority of the modern Western scholars still believe in this myth of Moscow chauvinists.
Russia was a totalitarian state from the very beginning its existence. Even after the Socialist Revolution, the Soviet Union became a totalitarian imperial state, although it was called as the union of republics. Actually, no republic in that union had a right to any independent existence. In addition, before the collapse of the Soviet Union, the former Soviet government arrested all individual savings accounts, which was a crime of the state against its citizens. Nevertheless, the government did not care for it. Therefore, the government would have conducted the necessary economic and political reforms for reestablishing the credibility of citizens and future investors by paying back all individual savings. Then, the most prominent scholars in the fields of political sciences, philosophy, economy, juridical sciences, and international relationships could design a draft of the new constitution by winter of 1992. After it, President Yeltsin would have delivered an official statement about rejecting the Communist ideology at the extraordinary session of the Congress of People’s Deputies. Furthermore, some world’s prominent political leaders, economic scholars, and cultural influencers would have taken part in debates after the statement to convince the Congress in adopting the new program of political, economic, and social development of Russia. Then, President Yeltsin would have given the floor to the scholars who designed the draft of a new constitution of Russia, which would have eliminated unnecessary tensions in society and opened new perspectives for conducting reforms. Unfortunately, because of the abovementioned reasons, Yeltsin decided to commit a coup d’etat in 1993.
The new Russian constitution of 1992 did not guarantee the development of real democratic relations in Russian society. Although the first words of the Russian Constitution read as follows “We, the multinational people of the Russian Federation, united by a common fate on our land, establishing human rights and freedoms, civic peace and accord” (“The Constitution of the Russian Federation”), the nations of the Russian Federation did not have a free will for choosing further either independent or integrated life. Therefore, Yeltsin should have conducted a referendum in all republics, national territories, and regions for the determination of their further fate. If he had done it, the referendum would have eliminated any risk of the Chechen wars and other conflicts. Nevertheless, some republics would have gained independence, and some of them would have remained in the Russian Federation.
The whole power should consist of legislative, executive, and juridical branches, in which the President should be a chief of the executive branch to form the Cabinet of Ministers from the representatives of political winners of a universal election by party lists. The head of the Supreme Council should be a chief of the two-chamber parliament: the chambers of commons and nations, the legislative branch of the state power. The chamber of nations should consist of equal numbers of representatives from each subject of the Federation. For example, 21 republics comprise the Russian Federation, but nobody can find the Russian Republic among them. In addition, some national territories or areas should have the same rights as republics. Therefore, about 30 national republics should have equal numbers of their representatives in the chamber of nations, the upper chamber. The chamber of commons should consist of an amount of representatives proportionate to the number of the inhabitants. It should be the lower chamber. Therefore, the parliament will represent the interests of each subject of the Federation. Although the Russian Federation has a common language for international relations, each national republic or territory should have the second official language for the usage within the territory to protect the individual rights of all citizens. Furthermore, they should have their individual constitutions, and the abovementioned should be written in them.
The President of the Russian Federation should be a head of the executive branch. Therefore, he should assign a Prime Minister, the head of the Cabinet, but the parliament should approve him. However, such a norm as the dissolution of the parliament after two disapproval of President’s candidate of the Prime Minister is not democratic. Moreover, the Prime Minister should be from a list of the most numerous party in the parliament. Furthermore, the Prime Minister should approve the entire cabinet from the ministers of all parties of the parliament proportionate to their numbers in the chamber of commons. Therefore, all parties, which will exceed 5% in the election, will be in the parliament, the chamber of commons. Thus, political parties will conduct their policy in the country. The Supreme Court should be the juridical branch, in which its head will be a chief of the branch. At the same time, there should be not any political criminal laws for avoiding political prosecutions.
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Although Russia has many different political parties, only the Party of Yabloko is the most suitable for implementing political and economic reforms. As Philip Roeder states, this party supported “full integration of Russia into the community of advanced industrialized economies and active cooperation with the Western states in managing the international community” (120). The Communists and the nationalist parties combined their political forces for demanding anti-Western political concessions. It became a real Nazism concerning the former Soviet republics. They just declared the republics as the “fascist” Russophobes. Therefore, Putin began local armed conflicts and even wars against the countries of GUAM (Georgia, Ukraine, Azerbaijan, and Moldova), removing political and economic competitors of Russia. Moreover, he used the huge state resources for eliminating rival parties. It was not democratic, and the parliament should have the right to declare the impeachment to the President for these illegal actions. Therefore, the only party, the United Russia, became the major force of the Russian political system, turning the country into a real totalitarian state, which poses a deadly threat to the entire post-war political order in the world. For example, in his article “Putin Says Russia Planning ‘Countermeasures’ to NATO Expansion, David Filipov states, “Putin is warning that his forces could target NATO sites if his country feels threatened.” Ivan Nechepurenko and Nick Cumming-Bruce further claim that Putin “instructed his government on Wednesday to withdraw from the treaty that created the International Criminal Court, while his government assailed the tribunal as ‘ineffective and one-sided.” As Andrews states, “At the moment of real opportunity to achieve the goals… a democratic state and market economy, the Russian Parliament lost its ability to act decisively” (8).
Russia is a totalitarian state that tries enforcing its slanted political viewpoints on history, the further political and economic development of Europe and the world, and the future justification of all its possible aggressive actions toward world’s society. Moreover, Russia threatens to use its nuclear weapons for intimidating the Western countries. Thus, it would be better to rewrite the Russian constitution, but this document seems to be a suitable paper for hiding real aggressive actions of Putin’s Administration. Therefore, Putin can do everything without any monitoring from the side of civil society or political parties. Moreover, the parliament will never impeach him because the real opposition is absent. Thus, Putin can appoint the next President, using the state resources.
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