A constitution is not just words on paper but a living and breathing document that is given meaning by those who use it. That is certainly true in the Russian Federation where the words contained in the 1993 basic law provide little guidance on how the Russian political system functions, according to Vladimir Pastukhov.
As a guide to the perplexed, the St. Antony’s College Russian historian provides an outline of what the Constitution of the Russian Federation is in the mind of its most important interpreter and implementer, Vladimir Putin, and how those now considering the revision of the existing document might change it.
Herewith is an informal translation of Pastukhov’s understanding of Putin’s understanding of the Russian constitution:
- The president is the leader of all the peoples of Russia and especially of the Chechens.
- The president is one in three persons: the president is the favorite father of the nation, the president is the great son of the nation, and the president is the spirit of the Constitution.
- The president administers those who control but does not control those who administer.
- The president governs with the help of the Chosen Rada. The chosen Rada is not elected. Note: From February 23, 2014, the Chosen Rada is the Elected Khural.
- The president defines the bases of domestic and foreign policy of the Russian Federation in correspondence with the recommendations of the chief advisor on whom is laid the obligation of being “the Jew attached to the governor.” “The Jew attached to the governor is an honorary title which is given in the Kremlin to persons whose last names end in “-ovsky.”
- Power in Russia is divided if the President listens at one and the same time to the opinion of several advisors. In this case, the decision is taken by a consensus of the internal “egos” of the President.
- To avoid a conflict of interests, the President must have only one “Jew attached to the governor.” Such a person may serve several Presidents. In this consists the continuity of power in Russia.
- The President occupies his position as the result of a palace coup and rules until the next palace coup.
- The time and place of the palace coup is decided upon by a secret vote of members of the Chosen Rada (since February 23, 2014, the Khural).
- The people greets the appointment of the President in general elections. Despite the wealth of choices, there is never an alternative to the incumbent president. Each president in turn is considered irreplaceable until he is.
- The President is chosen once and forever. The time of the President’s rule may be divided into terms. Each successive term is to be considered the first. Each third term is to be considered sacred. The President can leave his post before the beginning of a palace coup in the event of his unexpected death.
- The President and Russia are indivisible. We say President and we mean Russia. We say Russia and we mean the President.
- Each new President creates his own Russia and destroys the old one.
- At the end of his term, the President loses Russia so that his successor will have something to look for.
- Each successive President must return the Russia which his predecessor destroyed.
- The President can do anything and everything.
- If the President cannot do that, it means that revolutions have begun.
- The competence of the President does not depend on his competence.
- All disputed issues regarding the authority of the President are resolved by competent organs.
- The President is the apex of the power vertical.
- The President dreams up, issues and implements laws.
- The President judges his own actions and those of others.
- The President of Russia by default is considered the President of the world. The world by default is considered Russian.
- Peace is a hybrid of war. The President has the right to begin and end hybrid war whenever it suits him.
- The President prefers war to revolution.
- The President is the guarantor of the stability of his own power.
- The President defends Russia from color revolutions with the help of black and white television.
- Any attack on the power of the President is state treason.
- The question about the removal of the President from his position is decided by the Federal Assembly the means of a collective flipping of a one-ruble coin on which the shield of the Russian Federation is to be found on both sides.
- The President is considered to have been removed from the position if, despite this precaution, the coin lands on its edge.