Evolution of Constitutional Review in Russia: From the Night Watch to Constitutional Justice

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Author: Boris A. Strashun

DOI: 10.21128/1812-7126-2016-3-94-113

Keywords: constitution; control of constitutionality, constitutional supervision, constitutional amendments, constitutional review; the Federal Constitutional Act on the Russian Federation Constitutional Court


In the first part of this paper the author has shown weak if not negligible role of higher judicial bodies in constitutional review till the very end of Soviet era. The idea of constitutional review was revived again in the process of democratisation in the late 1980's. This idea got a new momentum in the Russian Federation, embodied first in the Constitutional Court of the RSFSR, which went through the political turmoil of 1993 and constitutional reform in Russia. After a short suspension of its activities and the adoption in 1994, under the new Constitution, of a new law on the Constitutional Court, it was transformed into the Constitutional Court of the Russian Federation. The present part of the article considers the status and content of the Court activities defined by the Constitution, and the functions and the procedure – by the special law on the Court. In this second part of the article the author delivers a detailed description and analysis of the content of the Federal Constitutional Law on the Constitutional Court of 1994 and all amedments brought in it by constitutional laws and the Court practice. The author presents a critical account of controversial developments in establishing a really democratic judicial institution independent both from general political trends and from executive. The author shows the role of the Constitutional Court in protecting human rights, demonstrating in the same time all shortcomings in fulfilling this task. The article reflects on how good intentions to improve the mechanisms of constitutional review actually have led to delays in dealing with complaints or put limits on effective protection of constitutional rights. And in any case, the article as a whole is a good guide through al intricacies of constitutional review in contemporary Russia.

About the author: Boris Strashun – Doctor of Sciences in Law, Professor in the Constitutional and Municipal Law at the O. E. Kutafin Moscow State Law University; Merited Scholar of the Russian Federation, State Councilor of Judiciary 2nd Class.

Citation: Strashun B. (2016) Evolutsiya instituta konstitutsionnogo kontrolya v Rossii. Chast' 2. [Evolution of Constitutional Review in Russia: From the Night Watch to Constitutional Justice. Part 2]. Sravnitel'noe konstitutsionnoe obo­zrenie, no.3, pp.94–113. (In Russian).


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