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How Democratic is the New Russian Constitution?

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Introduction

How Democratic is the New Russian Constitution? Introduction In 1990, a constitutional commission in Russia was created with the purpose of creating a new Russian constitution which was finalised in 1993 after much debate over the content. The aim was to create a framework under which a liberal democratic or socialist society could develop giving Russian citizens a fairer and more successful system than the one it had replaced. Although the Russian constitution has undoubtedly been drastically changed, it is debatable whether or not the end result is in fact democratic. Main Text When Yeltsin started constructing the new constitution, he introduced 3 key principles - the protection of human rights, that it must maintain the unity of Russia and that the constitutions of the republics and Russia do not contradict each other. These conditions are democratic as they are consistent with the notion of equality. In a democratic society, people need to be treated equally as when elections are held with each citizens having a right to 1 vote, this is acknowledging that each individual in society is as important as the other and therefore each individual has an equal right to choose who will make decisions for them. Another important democratic element of the new Russian constitution is that it has changed from being a 1-party system to a multi-party parliament. ...read more.

Middle

This is necessary as it involves giving responsibilities and power to individuals within organisations who can make their own individual economic decisions (within limits designed in their interests). They therefore have more power over their own actions and decisions while at the same time (if supported in the right way) increase the county's chance of economic success or growth. Politics after all is so important and criticised as it involves the use of state powers to make decisions which affect a majority of citizens but which are taken by a minority. If citizens believe they can collectively make those decisions alone within their own enterprise, then if they were to give this power over to the state it would be undemocratic? For democracy, the state must be given only the necessary powers it needs to work towards society's aims. If the state has unnecessary economic powers it is contradicting the principles of democracy. For democracy, there is also a need for political stability. For any system of government to be politically stable, it needs to be accepted, for it to be accepted, it must also be successful which means it must be able to support economic prosperity as then society as a whole is benefiting and less likely to challenge the system. This is why it is important if a constitution is to be democratic, for private enterprise to be given legal rights over things like property. ...read more.

Conclusion

This is perhaps the cost of building democracy from the roof down as it was in Russia. Conclusion The Russian constitution has in many respects achieved a separation of powers between the three state institutions. However, although the balance of accountability between the executive and legislature is not clearly defined, power is weighted too heavily towards the president. Especially as the president chooses his government and the state duma has little control over the government. These powers of the president suggest that the constitution may not be able to withstand authoritarian rule in the future. The powers of the federal assembly and the courts in relation to government need to be increased. In the US, for example, the courts have the power to challenge or even nullify the presidents' actions. Members of the federal assembly and the president himself are elected but national election campaigns need to be regulated more closely and the use of mathematical models does not seem an acceptable tool to conclude democratic election if the totals are in question. Party politics needs to develop more and the commitment of the president to parliament needs to be increased perhaps with the requirement that he needs to be able to command a majority in public. Considering it's history, time will tell how much the rules of the constitution are adhered to. The Russian constitution is definitely on the way to democracy but the constitutional framework needs to be used in the right ways necessary to develop a democratic society. ...read more.

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