MOSCOW, January 15. /TASS/. Russian President Vladimir Putin will sign a special decree to set a date and rules of putting to the vote amendments to the Constitution, Russian Presidential Spokesman Dmitry Peskov said, adding that he was speaking about a voting procedure, and not a referendum.
"The president [in his message to the Federal Assembly] mentioned amendments concerning none of the fundamental articles of the Constitution. In this particular case a referendum is not on the agenda. No decision-making by means of voting is implied," Peskov said.
"But the reforms proposed are going to be rather serious ones. The president found it expedient and necessary to have a consultation with the people. The issue of the day is putting the proposal to the vote. The dates and rules will be determined later and then formalized in a special decree," Peskov went on.
In his State of the Nation Address to the Federal Assembly on Wednesday Putin suggested putting to the vote a package of amendments to the Russian Constitution concerning, among other things, an expansion of powers of the State Duma and Federation Council, enhancing the status of the State Council and establishing the priority of the fundamental law in the Russian legal space.
Russia’s Constitution was adopted in a plebiscite on December 12, 1993. Analysts say it is one of the most stable documents of this kind in the world. A number of amendments has been introduced to it over the past 25 years — the presidential term of office was increased from four years to six and that of State Duma members from four years to five, the Supreme Court and the Court of Arbitration merged, presidential senators began to be appointed and the list of Russia’s constituent territories was specified. The basis of the Fundamental Law incorporating the freedoms and rights of citizens, the functions and responsibilities of the state, the principles of federalism and power sharing has remained unchanged.