Constitutional Court in the Twists of Russian History

Constitutional Court in the Twists of Russian History

Sheynis V.L.,

Dr. Sci. (Econ.), Prof., Principal Researcher, Primakov Institute of World Economy and International Relations, Russian Academy of Sciences,

DOI: 10.17976/jpps/2016.03.07
Rubric: Russia Today

For citation:

Sheynis V.L. Constitutional Court in the Twists of Russian History. – Polis. Political Studies. 2016. No. 3. P. 73-91. (In Russ.).


The Constitutional Court of the Russian Federation (CC), planned as the flagship of thejudicial system, emerged in the years of perestroika – for the first time in Russian history. The articledisplays the process of the advanced concept of judicial reform and model of CC passing through thesieve of law-making process and political obstacles. The prototype of CC, the USSR ConstitutionalSupervision Committee, possessed neither the authority of power, nor the power of authority, proved tobe helpless in the collapsing Soviet Union and quit the stage along with the parliament. Analysis of thesuccessive constitutional projects of 1990‑1993 and comparison of the two laws on the CC (one of themadopted before, the other after the adoption of the 1993 Constitution), shows how the legislator graduallyretreated under the pressure of the forces who sought to limit the role and functions of the CC in thepolitical and legal system of the state. After that, incorporation of the CC into the presidential “vertical”took place on the basis of the president’s decrees and amendments to the law on CC made in 1995‑2015.The Constitutional Court has to constantly make a choice between law and politics. Originally it triedto develop an intermediate position (the CPSU case in 1992), then actively interfered in the politicalprocess, supporting one of the parties to the conflict (the events of October 1993). The activity of the CCwas suspended by the president and resumed under a new law in 1995. After that, when addressing disputematters, the CC took, as a rule, the president’s side (the presidential decrees on Chechnya, 1993‑1994,the abolition of popular elections of governors in 2005, the right to ignore the decisions of the EuropeanCourt of Human Rights, 2015). Existence of the body of constitutional justice is important for the futureof the country; however, its role in cases which involve human rights and freedoms of political mattersremains modest or negative. It is essential that the Constitutional Court is given back its place in the state system that would meet the letter and spirit of the Constitution. 

law; constitutional justice; constitutional court legislation; verification of constitutionality of presidential decrees; dispute matters in the constitutional court.

Content No. 3, 2016

See also:

Verlaine M., Shashkova A.V., Kudryashova E.V.,
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Strashun B.A., Sheynis V.L.,
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Pastukhov V.B.,
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