The Message From Russia: A Challenge to Constitutional Resilience

The Message From Russia: A Challenge to Constitutional Resilience

By- Rishita Gupta


Russia has a tumultuous past and a varied relationship with the constitution. Russian model of Constitutional state is modelled on Marxist theory of state and law which gave them a distinctive perspective on the role of law in society, and consequently a novel view of the function of a written constitution. The recent attempt of Russian President Vladimir Putin to subvert the existing constitutional mechanism has to be seen as a vulnerable state of constitutional resilience across the globe. The conventionalist politician across the globe tried to legitimize their power through the institutional means of amending the Constitution. Chinese president Xi Jinping has successfully amended the constitution to safe his thrown, Sri Lanka, and Maldives has also witnessed the similar instances of Constitutional subversion. In this short piece I am going to analyze the power of Russian president, the intricacies of the Putin’s proposal, and the road ahead.


Russian Constitution grants enormous power to Russian president within constitutional framework. Article 80(2) of the constitution states that the President shall be the guarantor of the constitution of the Russian federation and of human and civil rights and freedoms. In accordance with the procedure established by the constitution, Russian president is vested with the power of concerted functioning of the all bodies of the government. Therefore the recent move by the President move is in the violation of constitutional principle. The fact that the President is not defined as a member of the Executive but that he exercises powers which cover a number of functions which include executive control, and coordination activities, has led Russian commentator to suggest that his office stands in a category of its own, above the classic triad of executive, legislative and judicial powers. Such power under the constitution has become the pedestal for Putin’s decision of granting parliament more power. By the end of 2024, the incumbent president, would not be able to contest the election and thus to secure his position in the garb of increasing the power of parliament, the recent move has been made. Democratic down surge across the globe is another challenge that the world is facing today apart from climate degradation. Democracy is becoming vulnerable day by day and seeking its existence in the dispersed chaotic world order. The annual survey by Economist intelligence unit reveals the eroding state of democracy in 167 countries of the world. It has rated the state of democracies on five important parameters- electoral process and pluralism, the functioning of the government, democratic political culture, and civil liberties and found the gradual erosion of democratic state. The Russian incident will not only aggrandize such belief but also will act as a moral legitimacy.


Democracy is vital for governing the world not because it is the only option to govern the world order but because it the best system to govern the global order. It is the people who makes the democracy vibrant, inclusive and purposeful for the better public good. Magna Carta which was the hallmark of democracy in the Great Britain has its root in peoples. Sir James Holt, the greatest authority on the charter, has written. “Magna Carta was not a sudden intrusion into English society and politics. On the contrary it grew out of them. Laymen had been assuming, discussing and applying the principles of Magna Carta long before 1215.  Democracy derives its strength from the people and people himself is the vanguard of democratic spirit. The perturbing state of democracy due to institutional erosion of constitution through the intended amendment for centralization of power is something which needs to be addressed from the people’s level. The strengthening of civil society, imparting democratic literacy and, understanding the functioning of institutions can paved the way for a better constitutional democratic global order. 

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