Spoilers as a form of abuse of power

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Author: Pavel Blokhin

DOI: 10.21128/1812-7126-2021-1-47-58

Keywords: abuse of power; conscientiousness; public hearings; public protest legislation; referendum initiative; spoilers


In the article the author specifies some general theoretical approaches to the concept of abuse of power, which were outlined by him earlier in his article Abuse of Rights and Abuse of Power: To the Formation of a Unified Doctrine published in one of the issues of this journal. In the introduction, the author proposes the concept of spoilers as a form of abuse and defines it in a following way: a participation of representatives of public authorities in the distribution of limited resources, which has the sole purpose of hindering (blocking) the exercise by citizens of their right to free expression of opinion (Article 29) and the right to participate in the life of the state (Part 1 of Article 32) and which is therefore unacceptable within the meaning of Article 18 of the Constitution of the Russian Federation. The main part of the article discusses possible illustrations of spoilers in the following areas of legal relations: the organization of public assemblies (including in single specially designated places), participation in public hearings (in particular, on the adoption and amendment of land use rules), initiation of a federal referendum (namely, challenging the decision of the election commission to register a regional subgroup of the initiative group). Finally, in the last part of the work, the author briefly examines possible models of legal regulation of countering abuse of power, and also warns against uncritical (politicized) use of this category, since this, in turn, may be fraught with violations of citizens' rights. According to the author, among such models are ex ante mechanisms (amending the current legislation and construing the norm in a constitutionally biding manner) and ex post mechanisms (application of the principle of inadmissibility of abuse of power by a court of general jurisdiction when considering a specific dispute), each of which has its advantages and disadvantages.


About the author: Pavel Blokhin – Candidate of Sciences (Ph.D.) in Law, Associate Professor, Higher School of Economics, Saint Petersburg, Russia.

Citation: Blokhin P. (2021) Spoylerstvo kak chastnyy sluchay zloupotrebleniya polnomochiyami [Spoilers as a form of abuse of power]. Sravnitel'noe konstitutsionnoe obozrenie, vol.30, no.1, pp.47–58. (In Russian).


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