The Kremlin is not carrying out any endeavor involving the justices of the Constitutional Court, leading scholars and experts to assess whether the Russian Constitution is in line with the modern day realities under a proposal by State Duma Speaker Vyacheslav Volodin, Presidential Spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters, TASS reported.
"There is no position on this now. In fact, various expert viewpoints are being experssed, including Volodin’s stance, but no position on this has been outlined and no works in this context are being conducted," Peskov said.
The Kremlin spokesman redirected a question to Volodin on which provisions of the country’s key law he views as inconsistent with the current realities. Touching on President Vladimir Putin’s remark that the Constitution is a "living body," Peskov said the Russian leader spoke "in general" and did not mean any particular changes.
"No one has outlined any positions on this," Peskov said, commenting on the Kremlin’s stance towards Volodin’s initiative.
Top Russian lawmaker’s proposal
On December 25, Russia’s State Duma (lower house) Speaker Vyacheslav Volodin said that society has been considering whether key legislation is effective 25 years from the time of its adoption. Volodin noted that a quarter of the century was a good amount of time to assess whether the Constitution is effective without questioning its key provisions. He suggested finding a format with participation of judges from the Constitutional Court, leading scholars in constitutional law and experts to look at how key legislation is functioning today.
December 12 marked the 25th anniversary of the adoption of the Russian Constitution. According to experts, it is considered to be one of the most stable documents of the sort around the world. A number of significant changes have been made over the past 25 years, including increasing the presidential term from four to six years, while the State Duma’s term of office grew from four to five years. Other important changes included uniting the Supreme and Arbitration Courts, appointing presidential senators and revising the list of federal subjects. However, the Constitution’s core such as human rights and freedoms, issues of functions and responsibility of the state as well as the principles of federalism and separation of powers remained unchanged.
Over the past years, the question on whether there is the need to amend the constitution has been raised many times. A recent discussion on the issue was sparked by an interview by Constitutional Court Chairman Valery Zorkin, in which he said that isolated changes could help correct the Russian Constitution’s flaws.
Among the aspects that might arouse questions, he mentioned what he described as an insufficient balance between the branches of power, unclear distribution of powers between the president and the government and also federal and local governing bodies. Peskov earlier said the Kremlin viewed this position as "a personal expert opinion" and was not preparing any changes to the fundamental legislation.