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Oct 30, 2021
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Kremlin argued with Zorkin about human rights in pandemic

Photo: Press Secretary of the President of the Russian Federation Dmitry Peskov

In the photo: the press secretary of the President of the Russian Federation Dmitry Peskov (Photo: Vladimir Smirnov / TASS)

The pandemic does indeed lead to the defeat of Russians in some rights, but this is inevitable, since the coronavirus is life threatening, said Dmitry Peskov… “This pandemic is killing,” he lamented. At the same time, the press secretary of the President of the Russian Federation noted the need to minimize the restriction of the rights of citizens.

Peskov’s words were in response to a question from the press about the article “Under the Sign of the Basic Law” by the head of the Constitutional Court (CC) Valeria Zorkina… In it, he drew attention to the danger of excessive state intervention in the sphere of the rights and freedoms of Russians during the coronavirus pandemic, as well as other challenges of the era.

Zorkin drew attention to the fact that according to Part 3 of Art. 55 of the Constitution of the Russian Federation, the rights and freedoms of Russians can be limited by federal law only to the extent necessary “in order to protect the foundations of the constitutional order, morality, health, rights and legitimate interests of others, to ensure the country’s defense and state security.”

The correspondence dispute between the executive and legislative authorities of Russia arose on the eve of the Vladimir Putin “Non-working days” with many restrictions. “We thought that we managed to put the pandemic under control together, and we learned how to manage it, but it also poses new challenges for us,” the Deputy Prime Minister admitted. Tatiana Golikova

Indeed, there are more and more cases of coronavirus – over 40 thousand cases in the last day. The number of deaths is also a record – 1,157 cases. Vaccination is progressing slowly. Many Russians buy fake certificates. Compulsory vaccination, introduced for some groups of the population, like the entire vaccination campaign, is causing resistance from the population.

Social psychologist Alexey Roshchin believes that the Constitutional Court was too late to attend to the protection of the legal rights of Russians.

– It is not clear why Zorkin “woke up” right now. Was everything all right before that? Although human rights violations began in the spring of 2020 with the introduction of a lockdown, very strange “non-working” days. There is no such term in the laws at all. There are either weekends or regular working days. Restrictions on leaving the house looked no less strange. The governors decided where to go and where not. Although they do not have such powers at all. In fact, over the past year and a half there have been continuous violations of the Constitution. Now they are not introducing anything that has not been done during this time.

It seems to me that there is a “selfish”, direct interest of the head of the Constitutional Court. Most likely this is due to persistent rumors that they are going to send Zorkin to a well-deserved rest. He was awarded (Zorkin became a full holder of the Order of Merit for the Fatherland – author), and this in Russian political practice often precedes resignation. Perhaps Zorkin decided to remind about himself. Or maybe he decided to strengthen himself in this way and sit on the post of head of the Constitutional Court for some time. So I suddenly remembered that the Constitution should protect human rights.

“SP”: – Peskov criticized the position of the head of the Constitutional Court …

– He, referring to the President of the Constitutional Court, says that the coronavirus kills and therefore we must ignore the Constitution. It looks like a political “gopnicity”. If we talk about procedures, then the Constitution precisely describes the procedure for actions in the case when people die and it is necessary to slightly squeeze a person’s freedom. In this case, the president issues a special decree, introduces a law on a state of emergency. It spelled out how to restrict certain human rights, for how long it can be done etc.

Therefore, Peskov’s objection to Zorkin is not an objection in fact. He repeated the reproach of the head of the Constitutional Court, stated on behalf of the president that there was an emergency in the country, people were dying, but at the same time said that they (the authorities) would not carry out the legal procedure. And they will do whatever they want. Actually, this has already become clear over the past year and a half. And judging by the reaction of the population, the people share this, because they do not understand why this Constitution is needed, what is the point in it, if it does not work anyway.

In theory, in the system of checks and balances, which should be a state structure, it is the Constitutional Court that is the very institution around which the forces of society could concentrate, which do not like complete lawlessness and who want some kind of rules. But since we have not heard anything about the Constitutional Court all this time, as if it does not exist at all, this institution, like others, does not protect citizens from the executive branch. She writes laws herself, implements them herself and judges herself.

“SP”: – What, in your opinion, will be the result of this clinch between the executive and the judiciary?

– Zorkin was “shaved off”. Most likely, his very belated demarche will not make any sense. After some time, we learn that he has gone into an honorable retirement.

According to lawyer and human rights activist Dmitry AgranovskyRussians are resisting quarantine measures, as the state has undermined its reputation with ill-considered policies in recent years.

– There is a hierarchy of human rights. This is not a secret for legal scholars. As a specialist in constitutional law, I would like to note that the right to life takes precedence over all other rights. If the right to life is threatened, then this becomes the basis for limiting other rights derived from the right to life. Agree that if the right to life is not realized, why does a person need the right, for example, to freedom of assembly?

Therefore, when epidemics, natural disasters or other circumstances directly threaten life (and the fact that this is the case now is understood by everyone except crazy or foreign agents) the right to life takes precedence and all these quarantine measures are fully justified. These are temporary measures. Unfortunately, the coronavirus has a high degree of virulence and contagiousness (volatility and infectiousness), and in order to block it, rather tough actions are needed.

What is happening now – masks, lockdown – these are still flowers. It happens that cities are blocked by the military on armored personnel carriers, doctors in chemical protection suits, gas masks – a scary sight. It has not yet come to this, but it is not known how the virus will mutate in the future and how citizens will interact with it. While many are behaving unconsciously. Yes, they may not trust the authorities, but the authorities themselves are to blame for this, which constantly deceive citizens.

“SP”: – What is the fault of the officials in the fight against the pandemic?

– The authorities have undertaken an absolutely harmful fight against foreign vaccines. It seems that the authorities really think that they are popular among the people and that everything they say is great. And if he says that foreign vaccines are rubbish, and ours are cool, then people will believe. And people understand that the products of Western firms, unfortunately, are now of better quality than ours. After all, they see the level of degradation of domestic pharmaceuticals. And since foreign vaccines are rubbish, then even more so ours. I have to honestly say that all vaccines are not perfect.

“SP”: Part of society criticizes the authorities for the lack of rigor …

– Strict regulations are accompanied by the introduction of a state of emergency and the payment of appropriate compensation. And our state cannot be suspected of generosity. In addition, in recent years, the state has too often repressed dissidents, the opposition, and therefore absolutely correct quarantine measures are perceived by people as repressive. Capitalism turned out to be before the first coronavirus. The system that we have been building for 30 years is absolutely unsuitable for emergency operations. God forbid war.

Not to mention the monstrous division between rich and poor. People are well aware that the ruling class will have an advantage in everything. So Putin rightly said that capitalism is outdated and unable to solve current problems. Therefore, when the state in the case of a pandemic for some time started to act correctly, they do not believe it. Therefore, out of 146 million Russians, 47 million people were completely vaccinated. This is the result of trust in the authorities. And the true election results are even lower than the rate of vaccination.

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