The Fate of A Scholar at the Core of Constitutionalism

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Authors: Aleksandr Evseev, Elena Egorova

DOI: 10.21128/1812-7126-2021-5-157-175

Keywords: constitutionalism; democratic recession; Eastern Europe; illiberal democracy; path dependence; populism; right shift; “memory wars”


Book review: Constitutionalism Under Stress: Essays in Honour of Wojciech Sadurski / ed. by U. Belavusau, A. Gliszczyńska-Grabias. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2020.

The article is a detailed review of a collective monograph published in honor of W.Sadurski, a prominent Australian legal scholar of Polish origin. It illuminates the most important problems of concern today to the international legal community. In particular, it is about the coming to power in a number of EU countries of right-wing populists who demonstratively disregard liberal values and tolerant rhetoric; the problems of the EU’s existence within its current borders, aggravated after the UK’s secession from the Union; and the phenomenon of “illiberal democracy” as one of the most dangerous challenges facing the constitutional development of the countries of Central and Eastern Europe, especially Hungary and Poland. Special attention is paid to democratic backsliding, seen in the steady decline in rankings of post-socialist countries in various ratings of democratic accountability. The paper draws a conclusion about the general crisis that democratic statehood is experiencing on the European continent today and which is perhaps the most serious since the late 1930s. Also addressed is the broader use of various forms of direct democracy, beginning with nationwide and local referendums and ending with various types of plebiscites on confidence. A relatively new form of popular governance has been introduced by deliberative (consultative) democracy, for example in the case of Ireland’s Citizens’ Assembly, which is chosen by random selection and as vox populi gives parliamentary committees recommendations on the most acute and divisive social problems. The volume also illuminates rightist governments’ social-economic policies repudiating the 1990s’ widely accepted concept of the market’s invisible hand and relying on direct payments to the population (as in Poland’s “500+” program, Covid payments, and so on). The Polish case is separately examined, particularly in the context of the so-called “war” with the Constitutional tribunal.

About the authors: Aleksandr Evseev – Candidate of Sciences (Ph.D.) in Law, Associate Professor, Higher School of Economics, Moscow, Russia; Elena Egorova – Candidate of Sciences (Ph.D.) in Law, Associate Professor, Higher School of Economics, Moscow, Russia.

Citation: Evseev A., Egorova E. (2021) Sud'ba ucheyonogo v inter'ere konstitutsii [The fate of the scientist in the frame of Constitution]. Sravnitel'noe konstitutsionnoe obozrenie, vol. 30, no. 5, pp. 157–175. (In Russian).


Belavusau U., Gliszczyńska-Grabias A. (eds.) (2020) Constitutionalism Under Stress: Essays in Honour of Wojciech Sadurski, Oxford: Oxford University Press.

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Muller J.-W. (2016) What Is Populism? Philadelphia, PA: University of Pennsylvania Press.

Sadurski W. (2019) Poland’s Constitutional Breakdown, Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Sadurski W. (ed.) (2006) Political Rights Under Stress in 21st Century Europe, Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Yevsieiev O. (2019) Kak Konstitutsionnyy Sud Ukrainy “sudit” Istoriyu: Kommentariy k Resheniyu Konstitutsionnogo Suda Ukrainy ot 16 iyulya 2019 goda Nº 9-r/2019 [How the Constitutional Court of Ukraine “judges” History. Commentary to the judgment of the Constitutional Court of Ukraine, adopted July 16, 2019 no.9-r/2019]. Sravnitel'noe konstitutsionnoe obozrenie, vol.28, no.6, pp.121–136. (In Russian).