2020 Amendments to the Russian Constitution – Change of the Constitutionor Its Collapse?
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The article is intended to examine the 2020 amendments to the Russian Constitution (1993), which not only substantially changed the constitutional structure of powers in Russia, but also led to a crisis in the identity of the Russian Constitution. The 2020 amendments to the Russian Constitution raise many important constitutional questions. The author analyzes, inter alia, the nature of constitutional amendments and their destructive role, the role of the constitutional review institution in the process of amending the constitution, the political character of such an institution in an authoritarian state, etc. The author presents the process of adopting the constitutional amendment initiated by the President of Russia, which was remarkably rapid. The 2020 amendments to the Russian Constitution provide also a unique opportunity to analyze the opinion of the Constitutional Court of the Russian Federation, which had already given its assessment of both this process and the content of the proposed amendments in the opinion of 16 March 2020, also in regard to amendments that concern the Constitutional Court itself and its independence. The 2020 amendments to the Russian Constitution, thus, inevitably raise questions concerning the altered nature of the Constitution, its integrity, and the compatibility of its provisions. Neither the conclusion given by the Russian Constitutional Court, nor the “all-Russian vote” carried out on 1 July 2020, will remove these doubts.
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