President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Mr Zorkin, greetings on Constitution Day.
This is not an ordinary Constitution Day, because today is the 25th anniversary of the country’s fundamental law. The Constitutional Court bears special responsibility for ensuring compliance with this crucial legal instrument. I would like to express gratitude to you, the other judges and personnel of the Constitutional Court for doing their jobs.
Many articles in our Constitution are directly applicable, which places special responsibility on those who must ensure compliance with these provisions, because this allows the Constitutional Court to take direct decisions regarding the interpretation of constitutional provisions. I would like to thank you for doing this important and highly responsible job well and for attaining good results. I also wish all the best to you and all your colleagues.
Constitutional Court Chairman Valery Zorkin: Thank you, Mr President.
We remember that the Constitution includes provisions not only on the Constitutional Court, but also on the Guarantor of the Constitution and other authorities. Therefore, our far from simple task is to work together with the other authorities to keep our Constitution alive, to prevent it from gathering dust.
I think that this has so far been possible, because it is a silver anniversary of the Constitution, which will be followed by a golden anniversary and so on. Thank you very much.
Taking this opportunity, I want to convey the judges’ heartfelt congratulations to you. I brought a small package [with books about the Constitutional Court]. This is a selection of our most important rulings. They represent the generalised practice of the [Constitutional Court].
This is only a small portion of the rulings, because we receive about 15,000 petitions a year. However, it is not the quantity, but the quality of the rulings that matters.
We strive to support the most important areas where a breakthrough is possible, where the Constitution may not work too well, if, say, the legislators failed to do their job properly, or the practice has taken the wrong turn.
However, I would like to emphasise that we have issued more rulings related to constitutional interpretation lately than on the violation of the Constitution.
It is often said that the Constitutional Court is doing little in this regard. I want to say that the legislative framework has been created, so there are fewer errors.
Vladimir Putin: Of course.