Available in Russian
Author: Alexander Merkulenko
Keywords: competency of the constituent units of the Russian Federation; emergency powers of the constituent units of the Russian Federation; high alert regimes; powers of the constituent units of the Russian Federation; regional emergency regimes; state competence; state emergency powers
Due to the new coronavirus pandemic, high alert regimes were introduced across the Russian Federation in spring 2020. These emergency regimes were established exclusively by the state bodies of the Russian Federation’s constituent units – federal authorities did not introduce their own emergency regimes. This decentralized strategy of fighting the pandemic was also introduced by the USA and Brazil. Their states, without the sanction of the federal government, and in the case of Brazil, ignoring its bans, set emergency restrictions similar to those in Russia. The legal regulation of emergency regimes existed before 2020, when constituent units of the federation (states) actively used their emergency powers. However, the regimes introduced during the fight against the pandemic were slightly different to previous ones. The restrictions on rights and freedoms within these regimes were so severe that not only their proportionality was questioned, but there were also doubts as to whether the regional level of the government had the authority to establish such strict restrictions. In addition, the pandemic exposed old problems and revealed new shortcomings in the legal regulation of emergency regimes: lack of control over the realization of the emergency regime by legislative (representative) authorities, and gaps in legislative regulation – notably in the establishment of possible restrictions and of a mechanism for scrutinizing their proportionality. All this raised questions about the proportionality of the established restrictions. The Constitutional Court of the Russian Federation resolved a very insignificant amount of the problems. While the United States and Brazil faced similar issues, the practice of scrutinizing implemented restrictions in these countries was more common. This article takes domestic and foreign experiences into account, while examining certain aspects of the establishment and the operation of regional emergency regimes.
About the author: Alexander Merkulenko – Postgraduate Student, Higher School of Economics, Moscow, Russia.
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