Invited guests included Government members, representatives of the Federation Council and the State Duma, federal executive and judicial bodies, and government bodies of the Russian regions, as well as representatives of religious denominations, public associations, academic and educational organisations.
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Speech at the reception marking the 25th anniversary of the Constitution
President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Esteemed members of the Federation Council, deputies of the State Duma, judges of the Constitutional Court, esteemed drafters of the Constitution of the Russian Federation, colleagues, ladies and gentlemen,
Congratulations to all of you on the occasion of an important date – the 25th anniversary of the Constitution of the Russian Federation. (Applause.)
This supreme legal act was adopted by popular vote. It was the free choice of the people as the sole source of power and bearer of sovereignty that granted the Constitution its unequivocal legitimacy.
The people made this historic choice for the sake of their native country, for the sake of themselves, their families and their children, and the present and future of Russia. We put an end to the alarming situation that was developing in our country, and left this lesson of reconciliation and solidarity for posterity.
The new Constitution made a decisive contribution to overcoming the severe political crisis and civil confrontation of the early 1990s. As a document of direct application, it made it possible to avoid the catastrophe of territorial disintegration, and strengthened the statehood and sovereignty of our country.
The greater the distance from the time and events that preceded the adoption of the Fundamental Law, the more we appreciate its unifying and constructive role. The text of the Constitution does not contain empty declarations.
Its provisions are operative. However, the Constitution is not a rigid legal construct, but a living, evolving organism. Foreign experience and domestic legal, cultural, historical and social traditions were taken into account when adopting the Constitution.
Representatives of the regions, political parties, and civic movements were actively involved in preparing the draft Constitution for nationwide referendum.
Their positions did not always align, far from it. But their striving for compromise, wisdom and responsibility for the country ultimately prevailed.
As a result, the supreme legal act, which is often called the Constitution of new Russia, was created and adopted. But this is the Constitution of the same Russia, our same country, whose history dates back centuries.
The idea of such continuity is explicitly underscored in the preamble to the Fundamental Law, which clearly states that the existing state unity needs to be preserved, while warm and poignant words are said about the multi-ethnic people of Russia united by a common destiny on their land.
Back then, at a critical turning point, our country did not abandon its past or the memory of its ancestors. Instead they served as the foundation to further strengthen the powerful, sovereign and democratic state, where the individual is recognised as the highest value, and human rights and freedoms, as well as civil peace and interethnic harmony are affirmed.
The Constitution and its articles are the pinnacle of the Russian legal system and the foundation for its further development. All current Russian laws are built on this constitutional foundation. It is symbolic that the modern history of Russian parliamentarism – both chambers of the Federal Assembly – also dates back to December 12, 1993.
State Duma deputies of all convocations, members of the Federation Council, and legislators from the regions have made a significant and worthy contribution to forming our legal system. Of course, the Constitutional Court has retained its key role. It was involved in the practical realisation of many constitutional norms, upheld the provisions of the Fundamental Law from faulty or biased interpretations and ensured the purity and unity of our legal space to this day.
Of course, the process of legislative and law enforcement work and judicial practice goes on without interruption. To reiterate, there is vast potential for development in all spheres, which is predetermined by the Constitution. Its incisive and straightforward prescriptions in the most fundamental areas exist in harmony with considerable freedom for advancing legislative initiatives, enacting flexible policies and taking effective administrative decisions.
You are aware of how rapidly the world is changing. Among other things, the Constitution helps us keep up with the times without betraying ourselves, and assert our national interests. We are pursuing an independent foreign policy and looking for adequate solutions to current challenges based on its principles and values, which, we realise, are of critical importance not only for us, but the entire world and its future as well.
It is essential that all political forces, society and every citizen of Russia experience and understand the letter and the spirit of the Fundamental Law, and respect them. We are well aware of our current problems and difficulties. We will work diligently, step by step, to overcome them. Together, we will certainly achieve our goals by fulfilling the will of our people and respecting and following the Constitution which they adopted.
Let me propose a toast.
Here’s to the Constitution of the Russian Federation!
To our great country!
To the well-being and prosperity of the people of Russia!
To success in achieving our goals!