Essentia constitutionis: Constitution of the Russian Federation – a look through the centuries of constitutional theory

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Author: Dmitry Shustrov

DOI: 10.21128/1812-7126-2017-3-71-90

Keywords: 1993 Constitution of the Russian Federation; constitutional revolution; essence of constitution; Russian Constitution; theory of constitution; теория конституции; учредительная власть


Constitution as a phenomenon is studied not only by jurisprudence, but also by history, political science, sociology, philosophy, economic sciences and other social disciplines. Within jurisprudence constitution is the object of constitutional law, and in this framework constitution is treated either doctrinally in strictly legal terns, or theoretically within the framework of the constitutional theory. This article presents the most significant theories of the essence of constitution through many centuries. Among surveyed theories are the material theory of constitution, which considers constitution as a legal instrument to shape political organization and respective institutions, and the contractual theory, in which constitution is viewed as the result of a compromise reached by the main social and political forces. There is also the theory of constitution as a fundamental law, in which constitution is a unique act of special importance to regulating the most fundamental issues of state life with a specific legal force, along with the formal theory of constitution, which stresses a written form and special rules to change it. Further, the theological theory of constitution helps to see theological origins of many modern secular political concepts and to understand constitutional concepts and make them work. The theory of constituent power, in its turn, helps to find out ways of constitutional change – constitutional reform and constitutional revolution, whereas a compromise between social forces is the core of one more theory – the social theory of constitution. The author leads the reader trough this historical and theoretical maze just to reflect on impact of all mentioned theories had on shaping the text, spirit, meaning and practice of the existing Russian Constitution.

About the author: Dmitry Shustrov – Candidate of Sciences (Ph.D.) in Law, Assistant Professor, Faculty of Law, Lomonosov Moscow State University, Moscow, Russia.

Citation: Shustrov D. (2017) Essentia constitutionis: Konstitutsiya Rossiyskoy Federa­tsii – vzglyad cherez veka konstitutsionnoy teorii [Essentia constitutionis: Constitution of the Russian Federation – a look through the centuries of constitutional theory]. Sravnitel’noe konstitutsionnoe obozrenie, no.3, pp.71–90. (In Russian).


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