Evolution of Constitutional Review in Russia: From the Night Watch to Constitutional Justice. Part 1

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Author: Boris A. Strashun

Keywords: amendments; constitution; constitutional supervision; control of constitutionality; RSFSR and RF Constitutional Court; the Russian Federation Constitutional Court Federal Constitutional Act; USSR Constitutional Supervision Committee


The article presents a detailed historical survey of the constitutional review in Russia. The author, in the first part of this paper, starts from the early stages of the constitutional development of the USSR. The competence of the Supreme Court for constitutional review according the 1924 Constitution of the USSR, were limited to a narrow set of supervision functions, and even those were soon abolished. Only after six decades, at the end of the 80s, almost by the very end of the Soviet era, the idea of constitutional review was revived again in the process of democratisation. On December 1, 1988, in the course of reforming the Soviet Constitution, the idea of constitutional control over the whole legal field was embodied in the USSR Committee of Constitutional Supervision. Then this idea started to develop at the level of the Russian Federation, especially after the collapse of the Union, transfiguring from the pure supervision institution, as it was in the USSR, to a judicial constitutional body and the real constitutional justice. Very soon the Constitutional Court of the RSFSR was established, which, rather weak at the beginning, went through the political conflicts of 1993 and constitutional reform in Russia. After a short suspension of its activities and the adoption in 1994 of a new law on the Constitutional Court, it was transformed the Constitutional Court of the Russian Federation, with the status and content of activities defined by the new Constitution, and the functions and the procedure – by the special law on the Court. In the second part of the article the author will deliver a detailed description and analysis of the content of the Federal Constitutional Law on the Constitutional Court of 1994 and all the changes in the legal field brought in by constitutional laws and the Court activities.

About the author: Boris Strashun – Doctor of Sciences in Law, Professor in the Constitutional and Municipal Law at the O. E. Kutafin Moscow State Law University, Merited Scholar of the Russian Federation, State Councilor of Judiciary 2nd Class.

Citation: Strashun B. (2016) Evolutsiya instituta konstitutsionnogo kontrolya v Rossii. Chast' 1. [Evolution of Constitutional Review in Russia: From the Night Watch to Constitutional Justice. Part 1]. Sravnitel'noe konstitutsionnoe obozrenie, no. 1, pp. 106–120.


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