President Vladimir Putin:
We meet regularly in the run-up to Constitution Day. For 13 years now, our Constitution has provided our country with a solid legal foundation, a foundation for the life of the state, society and our citizens. We have all become more aware of how important it is that both the state and its citizens respect and abide strictly by the Constitution.
The Constitutional Court is the main guardian and interpreter of the Constitution. It was established 15 years ago and has always carried out its noble mission with honour. You ensure not only that the Constitution’s provisions are respected in full, but also that it maintains its supremacy in our legal system.
The Constitutional Court’s legal decisions open up more fully the substance of the Constitution’s provisions and the links between them, and this in turn ensures a unified understanding of the Constitution. I would like to thank you once again for your work in this area, in particular in ensuring a common and unified interpretation of the Constitution’s provisions. The Constitutional Court provides legislators, judges and all involved in implementing and enforcing the law with the necessary references and guidelines.
Protecting the rights and freedoms of Russia’s citizens is deservedly the Court’s main area of activity. Our country’s citizens make wide use of the possibility to appeal directly to the Court to settle the issues of greatest concern to them.
A huge number of complaints concern the protection of social rights. In this respect, I note the decision on legal acts imposing a ban on the privatisation of housing provided to citizens after March 1, 2005. The Court ruled that these legal acts do not conform to the Constitution. This ruling clearly has immense social importance for a huge number of people in our country.
We discussed a broad range of problems at our last meeting and you raised a large number of questions. As you know, work on these issues is now at various stages of being put into law. Some issues have already been settled. You raised the matter, for example, of reintroducing to our criminal law the confiscation of property for certain types of crimes. As you know, this issue has been settled and a decision has been made.
I am sure that we will continue today with a discussion of the problems you think most important now. This will be a wide-ranging discussion given that the Constitutional Court’s work is concerned directly or indirectly with every area of the state’s life.