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Dismantling the Constitution

Below we’ve got another exclusive translation from RBK Daily, which our regular readers understand is almost amusingly pro-government news source from Russia which at times can help glean insights into Kremlin thinking.  According to this latest piece, it seems like we should brace ourselves for a full-on assault of what’s left of the besieged constitution of the Russian Federation.  Original source link here.

A tsarist attribute

Russians do not consider that the Constitution plays a particular role

A mere one fifth of Russians consider that the current Russian Constitution guarantees the rights and freedoms of citizens. A third of citizens assert that the Constitution does not play a significant role in the life of the country, «inasmuch as few reckon with it». Such are the results of a survey timed by the Levada-Center to coincide with the 15th anniversary of the adoption of the Fundamental Law of the country.

On 14–17 November, the Analytical Center of Yuri Levada (theLevada-Center) conducted a representative poll of Russians, thestatistical error did not exceed 3%. 15 years ago to the question ofwhether the Constitution guarantees the observance of the rights andliberties of citizens, 12% of respondents answered positively. By theyear 2007 this number had nearly tripled, having attained 31%. It lookslike the electoral campaign to the Duma and the beginning of thepresidential race forced Russians to remember about the main law of thecountry. But in the November survey of this year the number of Russiansconvinced that the Constitution helps to observe rights fell to 22%. Ifto a question about how whether the Constitution maintains some kind oforder in the activity of the state, in the year 1997 affirmativelyreplied 20% of the respondents, then now — 30%. 9% of the respondentsin November never did determine their attitude towards the Constitution.

«The Constitution does not play a significant role in the life ofthe country, inasmuch as few reckon with it». To this question in theyear 1997 affirmatively replied 45% of Russians. In this year, thosedisdainfully thinking about the Constitution became somewhat fewer –28%.
«Thus it historically evolved in Russia that the Constitution isconsidered an appendage of the tsarist power that doesn’t obligate toanything, in so doing the tsar (secretary-general or president) isconsidered above the Constitution and can do anything at all with it»,– says president of the Institute of National Strategy StanislavBelkovsky. Correspondingly, the attitude of Russians towards theconstitution is a projection of the attitude towards it of the currentpower — formally respectful.

«The Constitution — this is like the Bible, if everything that’swritten there were to be carried out, then we would be livingcompletely differently and would better have read the Fundamental Law»,– asserts plenipotentiary envoy of the government in judicial instancesMikhail Barshchevsky. In his opinion, the current power is not alwaysconsistent in relation to the Constitution. «President Dmitry Medvedevpersistently calls for following the spirit and letter of theConstitution, while certain deputies, lobbyists of the siloviki, forexample, are proposing to reduce the powers of the jury court duringthe examination of certain criminal cases, which, naturally, reducesthe possibilities of power by the people», — says Mr. Barshchevsky.

RUSTEM FALYAKHOV
12.12.2008