Russian constitutionalism: in search of identity

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Author: Armen Dzhagaryan

DOI: 10.21128/1812-7126-2018-6-82-100

Keywords: constitutional values; constitutionalism; human rights; персоноцентризм; социокультурная среда


The axiological dimensions of constitutional phenomena are today receiving ever more significant meaning and sharpness. It would seem that the prevailing understanding that constitutional values serve the universal integrative basis for societal and international cooperation and characterize the general measure of evaluating the legal quality of public policy is undergoing trials. When considered as the quintessence of the distinctive character of a people that is endowed in a higher formal legal cloud, constitutional values become not basic, but legitimate, meaning that in the first place it takes a functional ring – as a politically reasonable legal expression of the existence of a national culture. The doctrine of constitutional identity that has been formed in this context – first and foremost in the context of legal and practical custom – is experiencing an active expansion for establishing the boundaries of acquiescence in the cooperation of national and international legal orders. However, the constitutional character of national identity cannot be driven to formal moments, the consequence of which would be a blurring of the very understanding of constitutionality. This article discusses questions of constitutional identity from the position of the necessity to define its essential identity with basic requirements of constitutionalism meant to protect liberty from government arbitrariness. References to national uniqueness do not free them from keeping the requirements. The constitutional identity of Russian society is unfolded through the humanistic paradigm of the Russian Constitution of 1993, at the foundation of which can be found the idea of the primacy of individual rights. Approaches that are oriented on correcting this conception from the position of equal acceptance of other social-collective values are critically evaluated. Because the basic threat to the stable development of Russian statehood comes from a deficit of constitutionalism, it is proposed to consider adherence to the consistent realization of the Russian Constitution, which is not subordinate to the conjecture of societal and political practice, as the most important factor of the legal process. The logic of constitutional modernization is connected with a lagging in basic values of the individual through instrumental characteristics of constitutional order, concentrated in principles of self-government and legal order. In connection with this, municipal and legal reforms are formulated as generators of constitutional transformation. A thesis that constitutional identity carries not a resolutive, but a dialog character founded in pluralism, openness, and inclusiveness is presented as a summary.

About the author: Armen Dzhagaryan –Doctor of Sciences in Law, Сounselor at “Muranov, Chernyakov and partners”, Moscow, Russia.

Citation: Dzhagaryan A. (2018) Rossiyskiy konstitutsionalizm: v poiskakh identichnosti [Russian contitutionalizm: in search of identity]. Sravnitel'noe konstitutsionnoe obozrenie, vol.27, no.6, pp.82–100. (In Russian).


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