The President greeted the judges on the national holiday, noting that the standard of new legislation depended on a deep understanding of the Fundamental Law and its principles. He said that in this regard, it was impossible to overstate the role played by the Constitutional Court, which is responsible for supervising the activities of the lawmakers.
The meeting was attended by Chief of Staff of the Presidential Executive Office Anton Vaino.
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Beginning of the meeting with Constitutional Court judges
President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Mr Zorkin, friends, colleagues,
Welcome to our traditional meeting and greetings on Constitution Day.
From the outset, I would like to emphasise that throughout its existence the Constitutional Court has been consistent and relevant, acting as a reliable custodian of constitutional order. This role is essential for consolidating our country’s sovereignty, promoting economic development, protecting the rights and freedoms of our citizens and ensuring social and political stability.
You are well aware of the all-encompassing and concise nature of the Constitution in terms of its purpose, values and meaning. You also understand that there is plenty of potential for developing these norms through consistent legislative efforts.
The quality of the laws that are being adopted and, accordingly, the quality of life in the country, social development and governance are all underpinned by a thorough and intrinsic understanding of the Constitution, its principles and values.
In this context, the role of the Constitutional Court, which is in charge of overseeing legislative activity, can be hardly underestimated. Its rulings cover all social interactions without exception, and your opinions are taken into consideration when drafting laws and enforcing them.
I would like to place special emphasis on the fact that when we get together with our colleagues from the Government in order to come up with solutions for various issues, there is always an opponent, since we always have open and meaningful debates – this is how solutions come about – who refers to the position of the Constitutional Court on a specific matter to back his or her claims. This happens all the time during our work.
Today’s agenda is focused on getting rid of excessive regulations that are hindering economic activity. The Constitutional Court has issued a number of rulings, including in 2019, regarding norms containing restrictions of this kind, where it provided its interpretation in terms of constitutional law or declared them unconstitutional.
One of the main functions of the Constitutional Court is the interpretation of the Constitution. It may seem that this rather short text should have been analysed very well over the past 26 years. We have read it, we understand it, and everyone seems to know how the norms of the Fundamental Law should be applied.
However, the interpretation of its individual provisions and the document as a whole is a never-ending process. Especially when life itself demands ever-new interpretations of the Constitution.
Digitalisation is an important subject and something that calls for a new legal framework. A new interpretation of constitutional provisions will pave the way to new legislation in a sector that is only taking shape and where we have to break new ground.
First of all, we need to find a balance between the tasks of technological progress and the goal of protecting human rights and freedoms.
I would like to repeat once again that the Constitutional Court has done and is doing a great deal towards the protection of people’s rights and legitimate interests. The problem is that interpretations of some constitutional provisions may differ due to their abstract nature. Besides, people have different, sometimes widely different views on the common good and justice. Therefore, any law is almost always a compromise of interests.
At the same time, it is vitally important for lawmakers never to deviate from the universal standards in the field of human rights and freedoms.
I am talking about standards here, not the rights themselves. Regrettably, their declaration in the Fundamental Law does not ensure the practice of compliance with them. We need clear and well-oiled mechanisms to minimise the probability of neglect, let alone violation of human rights.
With every passing year, our Constitution is becoming an increasingly integral document. Its norms complement each other, acquiring new qualities and even new principles, which stem from the essence even though they are not formalised in the Constitution.
In the first few years after its adoption, any reference to the spirit of the Constitution was seen as nothing more than polite rhetoric.
But today the spirit of the Constitution has become as weighty and binding as its letter, that is, constitutional norms. The Constitutional Court undoubtedly had a big role to play in this.
Thank you very much. Congratulations on Constitution Day.