Dmitry Litvinovich: So, what: constitution or stellate sturgeon with horse radish?

Today, Russia celebrates a “red day”, 8th anniversary of Yeltsin’s constitution. With what achievements do we meet this day? According to a poll, carried out of Public Opinion fund, 55 percent of people who took part in it do not know the constitution’s content, while 36 percent suppose they do. 47 percent suppose the constitution is a formal document that has nothing to do with real life, while 41 percent are sure of the counter. 38 percent estimate the constitution to be bad, while 28 estimate it to be good (34 percent could not answer this question at all). 67 percent of people who were asked said the constitution should be revised, while only 8 percent suppose it should remain the same. For a political analyzer only a theoretical question is interesting: are the birthmarks of the political regime surmountable that were fixed in the constitution? Because the practical aspect of the constitution is obvious for everybody, that the constitution was made only to fix the ration of political forces and that it was “cut out” for the concrete political figure. It has become a custom, that every ruler of Russia tries to strengthen his achievements in constitution. Therefore, there were Stalin’s constitution, Brejnev’s constitution, Yeltsin constitution… In 1993 the press and then-president’s supporters assure Yeltsin: Russia cannot be a civilized country without a new constitution. With that statements, Great Britain seems to have been crossed out from civilized countries’ list, because it does not possess a written text of its constitution. Of course, we can say that the Russian Constitution is not perfect and our life itself shows it should be changed. But what about basic notions of rights and freedoms? At least, they should not be changed? Yes, some articles sound strange in comparison with today’s reality. Even an impression appears it was written for Marsian inhabitants, but not for us. Recently, articles started to appear in the press, suggesting the Fundamental Law must be revised. For example newly-made Federation Council’s speaker Sergei Moronov expressed himself for prolongation of presidential government’s term. While his colleague the State Duma’s speaker Gennadi Seleznev even proposed to create a working group for working out amendments to the Russian Constitution. According to him, the constitution can and must be perfected. It is not a sacred cow, that cannot be touched. He is said to have discussed this with the President, so the President agreed with him, that such a group was necessary. While the today’s answer of the constitution’s guarantor was that revision of “fundamental regulations of the constitution is equal to revision of the state system’s bases”. This was said at the ceremonial reception in the Kremlin devoted to the Constitution Day. The state head stressed, the question was not about amendments causing a fundamentally new constitution. “This completely belongs to presidential cognizance’s term, that will not be changed for the acting president”, - Putin said. The President is sure revision of the constitution’s norms “dictated by political conjuncture causes a crisis of power, dangerous state conflicts.” So, constitution must be kept and it probably will be honoured. And the pseudo-reformers who think about changing the Fundamental Law should remember what Russian writer Saltykov-Schedrin wrote and decide what they want more a constitution of stellate sturgeon with horse radish.

Dmitry Litvinovich PRAVDA.Ru

Translated by Vera Solovieva

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