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  • Documents on Democracy


The article by Oleg Rumyantsev beginning on page 35 focuses on the draft Constitution approved by the Constitutional Commission of the Congress of People's Deputies of the Russian Republic. This document was translated into English in preparation for a Washington-Moscow videoconference on 30 November 1990 that enabled Russian scholars and members of parliament to discuss the draft with American constitutional experts. (The videoconference, organized and chaired by Neil Kritz, was sponsored by the Federal Bar Association Section of International Law, Freedom House, and the National Endowment for Democracy, in cooperation with the American Bar Association Section of International Law and Practice.) Slightly edited excerpts from this translation, which is 71 manuscript pages in length, appear below:

PREAMBLE (see page 38)

Section I. Foundations of the Constitutional System of the Russian Federation

Article 1.1 - The Russian Federation is a sovereign, democratic, social, and legal state of the nations that are historically united within its borders . . . . It independently defines and executes its domestic and foreign policy . . . . The state sovereignty of the Russian Federation is indivisible and inseparable.

Article 1.2.1 - The bearer of sovereignty and the only source of state power of the Russian Federation is its multinational people.

Article 1.3.1 - The supreme value is the human being, his life, honor, dignity, freedom, personal sanctity, and natural and unalienable rights.

Article 1.3.2 - Human rights in the Russian Federation are guaranteed in accordance with the universally accepted principles and norms of international law.

Article 1.4.1 - Democracy in the Russian Federation is based on the principle of political and ideological pluralism. [End Page 124]

Article 1.4.2 - No ideology is permitted to be installed as an official state ideology.

Article 1.5.1 - . . . the Russian state is based on the principle of separation of powers: legislative, executive, judiciary; and separation of authority of the Federation, its republics, and local governments.

Article 1.6.2 - The Constitution of the Russian Federation is the Supreme Law of the Republic. Any laws and legal rules contradicting the Constitution are not legally valid.

Article 1.7.1 - The foundation of the economy of the Russian Federation is a social market economy that combines free labor and guarantees of social rights, respect of property . free enterprise, and honest competition.

Article 1.8.1 - The state operates on the principle of social democracy and justice in the interest of the welfare of its citizens and the society.

The main social duty of the state is the creation of conditions for proper living standards of all people and the development of the creative potential of each person . . . .

Article 1.9.3 - The Russian Federation and all entities included in its territory respect and guarantee the rights of all nationalities . . . .

Article 1.10.1 - The Russian Federation may voluntarily unite with other states into a Union (Commonwealth) on the basis of treaty . . . .

Article 1.10.2 - The sovereignty of the Russian Federation remains unshakable. The Russian Federation retains the right freely to leave a Union (Commonwealth).

Section II. The Rights, Liberties, and Duties of man and Citizen

Article - Citizens of the Russian Federation within its territory are guaranteed equal rights and liberties regardless of race, nationality, language, social origin, ownership status, position, residency, religion, party membership, and former incarceration.

Article - Men and women have equal rights and liberties.

Article 2.1.4 - Exercising one's rights and liberties should not infringe on the interests and rights of other persons, and it should not be directed to overthrowing the existing constitutional system, to stirring up religious, social, class, and national intolerance, and to war propaganda.

Article 2.3.2 - . . . Everybody has protection from arbitrary encroachment by the state, society, and individuals on personal and family life. Personal correspondence, telephone conversations, and other information must remain secret . . . .

Article - Every citizen of the Russian Federation has freedom of movement and . . . place of residence within the Russian Federation. Citizens have the fight to leave the Russian Federation and return.

Article - Everyone has the right to freedom of expression, belief, and free expression of this belief...


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pp. 124-129
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