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Reordering the State (without Changing the Constitution): Russia under Putin's Rule, 2000-2008

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image of Review of Central and East European Law
For more content, see Review of Socialist Law.

In the present article, it is assumed that V.V. Putin will not have the 1993 Constitution of the Russian Federation changed in order to help him arrange for a prolonged stay as President of Russia after his second term expires in 2008. It is also assumed that there will be no constitutional changes as to the power and the position of the prime-minister which would allow for an immediate 'return' of V.V. Putin in another capacity, namely as prime-minister, with much the same powers as he presently holds as President. The author expects that Putin will be true to his word in that he will maintain the 1993 Constitution (with the exception of minor change), that he will show to be—to use the Russian constitutional terminology—the garant of this Constitution.

Nevertheless, within the framework of the 1993 Constitution, substantial changes have been made in the ordering of the Russian state, by federal law, by other means. The subordination of the subjects of the Russian Federation to the federal center, the 'emancipation' of state-politics from party politics, the 'emancipation' of democracy itself from party-politics, the penetration of societal organizations by state institutions (upravliaemaia demokratiia or suverennaia demokratiia), and the accompanying (state-) ideological changes, which have come about especially during Putin's second term, all add up to what is expected to be a lasting legacy. Putin has not changed the 1993 Constitution; he has given it its definite reading (interpretation) as it were.


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