The adoption of amendments to the Constitution of the Russian Federation in any case leaves open the question of observing the constitutional rights of citizens in practice. The updated text of the basic law is one thing, but will the power follow it in reality, and even at all levels?
The Constitution of the Russian Federation was adopted in 1993. Almost thirty years have passed since then, and throughout this period the topic of violation of the constitutional rights and freedoms of Russians has repeatedly been raised. Indeed, not only what is prescribed in the Constitution, it is also necessary that these provisions are observed in practice, and first of all, by those who must protect and protect the constitutional rights of citizens: officials, deputies, judges, police, counterintelligence, and so on.
The new version of the Constitution of the Russian Federation spells out the priority of Russian laws over those international acts that are at variance with the basic law of our country. The amendment is positive when it comes to asserting Russia's sovereignty in the global space, including protecting the political and economic interests of the state on an international scale.
However, if one descends from the world of big politics and international relations into the real life of citizens, then the amendment could contain dangerous potential. Appealing to international instances, such as the European Court of Human Rights, for a long time was the only way for Russians to appeal against unfair decisions of domestic courts. Unfortunately, there were many such decisions.
This possibility will continue, but will our judiciary now take into account the decisions of the ECHR in specific cases? It will be possible to say more definitely only when there is a sufficient layer of judicial practice with appeals to the ECHR, decisions made and refusals to execute them on the basis of an amendment to the Constitution of the Russian Federation. That is, it will take a considerable time period to assess the consequences of such an amendment for ordinary citizens. The ability of the Constitutional Court of the Russian Federation to reverse decisions of international instances that go (or supposedly go) contrary to Russian laws, in some cases, can deprive citizens of their last hope of protecting their rights.
For example, crimes and abuses committed by police or special services officers, in some cases did not receive the proper response from the Russian courts and the victims had to reach the ECHR, and only there to seek protection of their violated rights.
Personal human rights and freedoms enshrined in the Constitution of the Russian Federation have also been repeatedly violated, in the opinion of many lawyers and public figures, in the Russian Federation, including by lawmakers. What is worth, for example, one “Spring package”, which seems to have been adopted with the good goals of the fight against terrorist and extremist activity, but in practice allowed the state to accumulate information about the private life of any person.
At the same time, the new version of the Constitution of the Russian Federation means:
The Government of the Russian Federation takes measures to support civil society institutions, including non-profit organizations, and ensures their participation in the development and implementation of state policy.
The constitutional consolidation of support for civil society institutions creates legal prerequisites for more active participation of public organizations and initiatives in the political life of society. This is a big plus, since the development of civil society institutions helps to take into account public opinion and increase the openness of power to the people. Another question is whether the support of civil society institutions will be provided in practice, and who will be included in the number of “elected” public organizations?
In any case, the time will tell how the rights and freedoms of Russian citizens will now be respected and whether the adoption of amendments will be a significant step towards changing the situation. While there is no judicial practice, there is no practice of law enforcement agencies, taking into account amendments to the Constitution. We will expect the first results.