Jun 30, 2020
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Taliya Khabrieva: We remain a presidential republic, but part of the president’s powers goes to parliament

On the hot line at Komsomolka jointly with the All-Russian State Television and Radio Broadcasting Company, academician of the Russian Academy of Sciences Director of the Institute of Legislation and Comparative Law under the Government of the Russian Federation Taliya Khabrieva answered readers' questions "KP"And its journalists.


- In the European Commission for Democracy through Law, you represent Russia. How did your colleagues react to the amendments proposed in the Constitution?

- This is the Venice Commission, at the location of the Council Of Europe. Colleagues were very attentive to our new norm. Those whom I have known for a long time, and I have been in the commission since 2013, agreed that in countries where the legal system is based on the priority of the national Constitution, conflicts are possible. The question is how to solve this. I can say right away that such conclusions of the Venice Commission, similar to ours, gave a lot. Here they had blanks. And the Venice Commission once again recognized that it is the right of the state itself to determine the issue of the relationship between international and national law.

- This priority is recorded by many ...

- These are almost all European countries, the United States, Japan, Brazil, Canada etc. We are offered to solve this in a dialogue between the European Court of Human Rights and the national Constitutional Court, that is, our Constitutional Court. Our Constitutional Court has such powers, and for a long time. Collisions of this kind arose in connection with the adoption of HRO decisions, and they were overcome. Now this provision is becoming a constitutional norm. This is our right, we have taken advantage of it.

- That is, now the citizens of Russia, who will contact the international structures, will not meet any opposition in connection with the adopted amendments?

- Exactly. It's not about that Russia ceases to fulfill its international treaties. This is protected by Article 15 of the Constitution, which states that it is part of the legal system of Russia. But, true, the supremacy in it belongs to the Constitution. We do not refuse, we are doing it. The point is that we are conscientious executors of our international obligations, there is a special law on international treaties that also guarantees this. And the right of citizens to appeal to interstate bodies is preserved, also guaranteed, moreover, by an article from the 2nd chapter of the Constitution. This is the 46th article of the Constitution - on the right to appeal. This is the unchanging part of the Constitution that is not affected by the amendments. They will be treated as before.


- Victor Nikolaevich from St. Petersburg. Cost of living and consumer basket - how are they related?

- For the first time, a norm appears in our Constitution, this is Article 75, which states that the minimum wage cannot be less than the subsistence level. Why is this important to us? Because the minimum wage is not only our relations with the employer, it is also such a constant unit, in accordance with which other social benefits and other support measures are determined.

- And the basket?

- As for the consumer basket, it lies at the core. The price of a consumer basket determines the level of a living wage. In 2018, for the first time, we achieved the fact that the minimum wage in our country has reached this level. And so that this level has neither the desire nor the opportunity, no matter who is in power, to change, and always have money for it, such an amendment is made to Article 75 of the Constitution.

- If you build on this basket, how often is it reviewed?

- We have a special law. As far as I know, recalculation takes place there regularly.

“But the store has different prices at different times of the year?”

- You can derive the average, but there are also extreme numbers. In order to have optimal methods, we must take into account what the government is doing here, the recommendations that are given, by various standards. And these standards take into account the methods that are used in different countries. Of course, the nuances that are associated, say, with a consumer basket in the Far East or the Far North.

After voting on the Constitution, the question immediately arises of the responsibility of the ministry, which should deal with this. After all, we are now introducing a new order in which ministers, deputy prime ministers, and prime ministers will be appointed. This is the responsibility now including the parliament, which will be the determining body here, so that they recommend those people to these federal executive bodies that will responsibly approach and take into account all the factors in the formation and determination of the cost of the consumer basket.

Director of the Institute of Legislation and Comparative Law under the Government of the Russian Federation Taliya Khabrieva.Photo: Vladimir VELENGURIN


- Almost a quarter century ago you defended a doctoral - “The Constitution of the Russian Federation. Theory and practice of application. " During this time, the practice of application entered into some contradiction with the theory?

- Not necessarily practice is in conflict with theory. If we are talking about the interpretation of the Constitution, the main body that interprets the Constitution is the Constitutional Court of Russia. It is just perhaps the main channel for the transformation of doctrine, that is, theory into practice. These are world-famous scientists, and they make different decisions.

And the fact that some contradictions arise is in fact. Here is an example. On the one hand, local authorities are not part of the system of state power, and on the other hand, it is obvious that this is part of public authority. We have no other authority than that defined by Article 3 of the Constitution: the people are the source of power, they are all elected by the people, by citizens RF. And the Constitutional Court for several years formed such a legal position, finally defined it, and it is now reflected in the amendments to the Constitution that state authorities and local governments are united by functional unity. They are all created in order to ensure what is written in article 2 of the Constitution as the highest value - human rights and freedoms.

- Is the redistribution of powers of higher state structures taking place with the adoption of amendments?

- Yes, there is a redistribution of powers. The president transfers part of his powers, the most significant ones related to the formation of the government and power structures, to the chambers of the Federal Assembly.

- But this does not mean a weakening of presidential power?

“No, it doesn't.” We remain within the framework of the “presidential republic” government.

- Do not become parliamentary?

- No, we don’t. And we have a system of checks and balances is being adjusted, modernized, but the presidential republic is being preserved.

- When will the powers of the State Council become clear?

- The appearance of new constitutional bodies is generally such a good dynamic of constitutional matter, in general of everything that is regulated by the Constitution. I recall, the State Council is already there. And the fact that another actor in the adoption of state decisions appears is also an indicator of the democratization of the adoption of the highest decisions.

- He did not have special powers.

- State Council represented the interests of the regions. The leaders of the regions are still included there. I believe that the main purpose of this body will probably remain so. This will allow you to better take into account what happens away from Moscow. And in this part, I think, is correctly stipulated by the Constitution that the specific content will be determined by federal law. And the legislator will decide the specific functionality of this body.


- The question of the status of the Russian language - did this amendment really cause such ambiguous judgments in a number of national subjects of the Russian Federation?

- Establishing the status of the Russian language as the state language is already the norm of the current Constitution. And now there is a clarification that defines the criteria for classifying the Russian language as the state language. This practice is also characteristic of foreign countries. And this reflects a very important mission of the Russian language, which is also called communicative, I call integration.

- That is, it unites.

- He unites everyone. Most of all, this is an identifying sign of us all, especially when we are abroad. It is clear that in the national republics (in any case, in Tatarstan) I heard only one speech on this subject. The question was - what about the native languages? Here the question is. Our preamble says that we are a multinational people. But in this part there is no contradiction. Because everything related to the study of native languages, these guarantees are now, and they are supplemented by amendments to the Constitution. I would even say that such balancing is amended in part 1 of article 68, which states that diversity is recognized in our country ...

- When they say that Russian becomes the main thing, and the rest become infringed - is that not true?

- This is not true. Because the current Constitution also states that there are state languages ​​of the republics that can be used along with the state language. And we guarantee all nations the right to preserve their native language and create the conditions for learning it. Moreover, the norm is introduced for the first time (this is very important, I will not even give the Constitution, where it is still), where the state protects the cultural identity of all peoples and ethnic communities. And it guarantees the preservation of this cultural and linguistic diversity.

- You said that it is difficult to recall countries where the rights of other peoples would be so guaranteed?

- There is not a single random concept in the Constitution. The category “originality” is a new, constitutional novelty such. It is found in separate international legal documents of a recommendatory nature. In this regard, yes, we are such pioneers here .. There are reverse examples. Ukraine and Latvia adopts laws prohibiting teaching in the mother tongue, even in private educational institutions. This is ignoring almost half of their own citizens. The Venice Commission adopted rather harsh conclusions regarding the law on education in Ukraine and the law on education in Latvia. Now, however, after the conclusion of the Venice Commission, which was adopted on June 18, the Constitutional Court of Latvia almost at the same time considered it not constitutional.

- Will this amendment provide an opportunity for people living outside of Russia to more easily obtain Russian citizenship?

- In fact, a new norm appears in the Constitution, which refers to the support of compatriots abroad. This largely continues the policy that Russia pursues in relation to those who have found themselves outside of Russia due to various circumstances. And, as you know, knowledge of the Russian language makes it easier to obtain Russian citizenship.

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