Under the Constitution, civil rights and liberties are to determine the purpose, content and application of the country's laws, as well as the activities of all governmental bodies. The observation of these rights and liberties is to be ensured by the justice system. The Constitution assigns the President a special role in this sphere. The words about his duty to protect and uphold the Constitution, respect and protect civil rights and liberties and to serve the people faithfully are an important part of the text of the presidential oath, which the President takes before the people at his inauguration.
In order to ensure that civil and human rights and liberties are respected, all governmental bodies must perform their constitutional duties within the bounds of their authority. The President is to ensure that this is the case. For this purpose, the Constitution grants him special powers to ensure the concerted functioning and interaction of all governmental bodies.
In protecting civil and human rights and liberties, the President relies on the entire system of state power. His role as the guarantor of human and civil rights and liberties presupposes a constant concern for the effectiveness of the executive, legislative and judiciary branches of power, without direct interference in the areas of their jurisdiction.
Being officially distanced by law from all branches of power, the President drafts and issues legal regulations, discharges leadership duties, settles disputes and ensures that the Constitution is observed. In order to fulfill his responsibility to protect civil and human rights and liberties, the head of state interacts with the Government (the Cabinet and federal governmental bodies of the executive branch), federal courts, the public prosecutor’s office, law enforcement agencies and non-governmental organizations.
The President is responsible for ensuring that the constitutions and legislation of Russia's constituent territories do not contravene the Constitution of the country, federal laws or the aim of ensuring and protecting civil and human rights and liberties. If they do, the President shall have the right to demand from any governmental body of the Russian Federation or one of its constituent territories that it respect civil and human rights and liberties and, if they are violated, that they be restored in full. In doing so, the President has the right to take the most forceful measures at his disposal, including the issuance of obligatory executive orders.
The President exercises his authority as the guarantor of civil and human rights and liberties through his right to submit draft legislation. In addition, he issues decrees protecting the legal rights of both individuals and specific groups and ensuring all individual, political, social and economic rights.
The power of the President is limited by the Constitution. Many Russian citizens interpret the President’s duty to protect the Constitution and human and civil rights very broadly. They often appeal to him with their complaints, for example, about the decisions of law-enforcement agencies or even court rulings. The President, however, in accordance with the constitutional separation of powers, has no right to act as a substitute for the functions and powers of these bodies. The general scope of the President’s authority is determined by the principle of the separation of powers and the constitutional stipulation that the decrees and orders of the President may not contravene the Constitution and federal laws.