The Russian Constitutional Court and Review of Constitutional Amendments: To Open Wide the Door Ajar

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Author: Alexandra Troitskaya

DOI: 10.21128/1812-7126-2016-2-96-115

Keywords: constitutional control; Constitutional Court of the Russian Federation; laws of the Russian Federation on constitutional amendments; unconstitutional change of the Constitution


Constitution of any polity defines its legal order on the basis of a certain system of values. Fundamental values of a constitutional democratic state must be protected not only during a routine implementation of the constitution but also during its amendment procedures. However, the problem of unconstitutional constitutional amendments is complicated and is connected to two different, although interrelated, questions. First, one has to decide which constitutional provisions are unchangeable; second, one has to construct a model of a substantial review of amendments. There are different approaches to these questions in different countries in the world including: 1) explicit “eternity clauses” and explicit competence of the constitutional court to review amendments from point of view of substantiality; 2) explicit “eternity clauses”, silence on the competence and further either a self-supporting decision of the constitutional court to review amendments, or a refusal to judicial review and maintenance of “eternity clauses” rather as “soft law”; 3) absence of explicit “eternal clauses” supplemented by an activist judicial position in preservation of certain parts of the constitution on the basis of interpretation; 4) absence of explicit “eternal clauses” and refusal to judicial review of amendments. The paper considers jurisprudence of different bodies of constitutional review. The derived conclusions are applied to decisions of the Russian Constitutional Court which denies reviewing amendments at the moment, but could being more activist and fully assuming this function in the future.

About the author: Alexandra Troitskaya – Candidate of Sciences (Ph.D.) in Law, Associate Professor of the Constitutional and Municipal Law, Faculty of Law, Lomonosov Moscow State University.

Citation: Troitskaya A. (2016) Rossiyskiy Konstitutsionnyy Sud i proverka popravok k konstitutsii: kak raspakhnut' priotkrytuyu dver' [The Russian Constitutional Court and Review of Constitutional Amendments: To Open Wide the Door Ajar]. Sravnitel'noe konstitutsionnoe obozrenie, no.2, pp.96–115. (In Russian).


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