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Russian Constitution marks 20 years

December 12, 2013, 3:50 UTC+3 MOSCOW

For two consecutive years Russian President Vladimir Putin will read out the address to the Federal Assembly on this day

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MOSCOW, December 12, 3:15 /ITAR-TASS/. Russia’s Constitution marks the 20th anniversary.

The Constitution was adopted on December 12, 1993 and determined the fundamentals of the state system, the rights and freedoms of citizens.

For two consecutive years Russian President Vladimir Putin will read out the address to the Federal Assembly on this day. All-Russian day of reception of citizens will be held throughout the country. Under the president’s instruction, the President’s Reception and receptions of federal bodies of executive power will be opened. It is likely the holiday “will be marked red in the calendar very soon”. In any case there are proposals to make it day off.

Constitution Day will be the culmination of jubilee events, which have been continued since the beginning of the year. It is not incidental. December 12, 1993 became a starting point in Russia’s modern times. Simultaneously with the referendum on the Constitution the first elections to the State Duma, lower house of Russia’s parliament, were held. Lawmakers and senators can consider this date a landmark event in developing Russian parliamentarism. This date can be considered a jubilee for Russia’s election system and for developing Russia’s statehood as a whole.

“The Constitution proclaimed the highest status of citizens’ rights and freedoms, the value of federalism and a strong state. It became a reliable foundation for the development of the country,” Putin said in a greetings message to participants in a solemn session of both houses of Russia’s parliament.

“Based on the Fundamental Law and unifying ideas, we went through a serious test, preserved the country’s territorial integrity, succeeded in fighting modern times’ challenges, formed key legal, political, economic and public institutions, which determined Russia’s modern life,” the president said.

State Duma speaker Sergei Naryshkin said the quality of lawmaking process could increase cardinally following the Constitution. “If you want the Constitution should be interpreted as the national purpose - the purpose, which unites everyone, who wants and is ready to achieve progress for our country,” he said.

Federation Council speaker Valentina Matviyenko said the Constitution preamble “has a clear fundamental system of moral values of the country’s multinational people”. “This is a common historical fate and state unity, the freedom of a human being and civil peace, the respect to ancestors’ deeds and love to Motherland, the faith to fairness and the drive for Russia’s prosperity,” she said.

The 1993 Constitution became the fifth Fundamental Law. Putin was the first leader, who came to power and did not rewrite the Constitution adopted under the rule of First Russian President Boris Yeltsin.

Several days before discussions were being held to reform the Constitution. However, most political scientists and experts believe that there is no need to change the Constitution. “The Russian Constitution and the principles of separation of power established themselves,” head of the Constitutional Court Valery Zorkin said.

Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said the Russian government should plan lawmaking based on the Constitution as a kind of “a roadmap”. “The potential of the Fundamental Law is huge,” the premier said.

The Russian Fundamental Law stood the test of time. Historians say the average validity of the Constitution adopted in different countries after World War I had not exceeded 10 years. Thus, the text of the Russian Constitution “is becoming canonical”. It is not incidental that the State Duma speaker proposed to pass an exam for the significance of the Fundamental Law.

Young Russians are expected to study the Constitution at schools. The President’s Library in St Petersburg will give a special multi-media lesson to give sight with the basics of Russian legislation.

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