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Law on amendment to Russian Federation Constitution

March 14, 2020

The President signed the Law of the Russian Federation on introducing an amendment to the Constitution of the Russian Federation, On Improving the Regulation of Certain Aspects of the Organisation and Functioning of Public Authority.

The Federal Law was approved by the State Duma and the Federation Council on March 11, 2020, and as of March 14, 2020, has been approved by legislative (representative) bodies of 85 constituent entities of the Russian Federation.

The Law on amendment to the Constitution of the Russian Federation, On Improving the Regulation of Certain Aspects of the Organisation and Performance of Public Authority, stipulates amendments to Chapters 3–8 of the Constitution of the Russian Federation to improve the organisation and performance of public authority as an instrument to achieve constitutionally relevant goals that arise from provisions of chapters 1 and 2 of the Constitution.

The law, in particular, provides for the following.

The Russian Federation guarantees respect for and protection of working persons. The state also guarantees that the minimum wage shall be not less than the average subsistence rate for working-age people across Russia.

The pension system shall be developed on the basis of the principles of universality, justice and solidarity of generations. Mandatory indexation of pensions shall be implemented at least once a year.

The Russian Federation guarantees mandatory social insurance, targeted social support, and indexation of social benefits and other social payments.

Children are a priority of Russia's national policy. The Russian Federation ensures the priority of family education. In case family education is not possible, the state undertakes parental obligations towards such children.

The state undertakes the obligation to support and protect culture as a unique heritage of Russia's multi-ethnic nation.

It is proclaimed that the Russian Federation safeguards the historical truth and honours the feat of the defenders of the Fatherland. Denigrating the feat of the people who defended the Fatherland shall not be permitted.

The Russian Federation supports compatriots living abroad in exercising their rights, ensures the protection of their interests and the preservation of the Russian national cultural identity.

Pursuant to the Law, the following items shall be added to the jurisdiction of the Russian Federation: the organisation of public authority; establishment of the basic principles of federal policy and federal programmes in the sphere of scientific and technical development; information technologies, and ensuring the security of individuals, society and state when using them; outer space-related activity; agriculture; establishment of single legal frameworks for the healthcare system and the education system; ensuring the provision of accessible and quality healthcare, preserving and improving public health, promoting a healthy lifestyle and a responsible attitude among citizens towards their health; protecting the institution of marriage as the union of a man and a woman; creating conditions for raising children in families with dignity, as well as empowering adult children to fulfil their duty of caring for their parents.

It is established that the Russian Federation is the successor (continuity state) of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, recognising continuity in the development of the Russian state and the unity of the state resulting from the millennial history of our country.

All persons holding public office in the Russian Federation, heads of federal state agencies, shall not be allowed to hold citizenship of a foreign state or to have a residency permit or other document enabling its holder to permanently reside in a foreign country, as well as open and hold accounts (deposits), or keep money and valuables in foreign banks located outside of the Russian Federation.

Pursuant to the Law, decisions taken by supranational bodies in keeping with the provisions of the Russian Federation’s international treaties shall not be enforced in the Russian Federation if they contradict the Constitution of the Russian Federation.

The Russian Federation shall take measures to maintain and strengthen international peace and security, ensure the peaceful coexistence of states and peoples, and prevent interference in the country’s domestic affairs.

The amendments to the Constitution of the Russian Federation deal with the constitutional status of the President of the Russian Federation, introducing heightened requirements to candidates to the office of President of the Russian Federation. Thus, a candidate for President of the Russian Federation must be a citizen of the Russian Federation permanently residing in the Russian Federation for at least 25 years, who is not and has not been a citizen of a foreign country or held a residency permit or other document enabling its holder to permanently reside in a foreign country.

One person cannot serve as President of the Russian Federation for more than two terms. This provision shall apply to the President of the Russian Federation in office as of the time this Law enters into force, discounting the number of terms during which such person has served in this position as of the time this Law enters into force.

Pursuant to the Law, the President of the Russian Federation shall appoint Deputy Prime Ministers of the Russian Federation and federal ministers, whose candidacies shall be subject to approval by the State Duma, except for ministers in charge of national security, defence and law enforcement, whose candidacies shall be subject to approval by the Federation Council.

The President of the Russian Federation shall be vested with authority to appoint, following consultations with the Federation Council, and remove from office the Prosecutor General of the Russian Federation, Deputy Prosecutor Generals, prosecutors of Russia’s constituent entities or officials holding the same rank, as well as appoint and dismiss other prosecutors, if required under federal law.

The President of the Russian Federation may present a submission to the Federation Council to terminate the appointment of presidents, deputy presidents and judges of courts within the court system of the Russian Federation, if they commit acts that compromise the judge’s honour and dignity.

Pursuant to the Law, the President of the Russian Federation is vested with the right to form the State Council of the Russian Federation and set forth its purpose, as well as set forth the purpose of the Security Council of the Russian Federation and the Presidential Executive Office.

The Constitution sets forth elements of the status of the President of the Russian Federation after completing his service in this position, establishes constitutional guarantees, and determines the procedure for depriving this person of immunity.

The Law sets out a new approach to forming the Federation Council. The Federation Council shall consist of senators of the Russian Federation, and shall include representatives from each constituent entity of the Russian Federation, representatives of the Russian Federation appointed by the President of the Russian Federation, as well as former Presidents of the Russian Federation, subject to their agreement.

The Constitution enables the Federation Council and the State Duma to exercise parliamentary oversight, including by filing parliamentary inquiries with the heads of state agencies and local government institutions.

Pursuant to the Law, the Prime Minister shall be directly accountable to the President of the Russian Federation for fulfilling the mandate of the Government of the Russian Federation. The following items shall be added to the mandate of the Government of the Russian Federation: ensuring the implementation of a single socially-oriented state policy in the Russian Federation; ensuring state support for Russia’s scientific and technical development, preserving and expanding its research potential; ensuring the operation of social protections for persons with disabilities, based on the principles of full and equal enjoyment of human and citizen’s rights and freedoms, and improving their quality of life; supporting civil society institutions, including non-profit organisations, engaging them in drafting and implementing state policies; supporting volunteering; promoting the development of entrepreneurship and private enterprise; taking measures to create a favourable living environment, reduce negative environmental impacts, preserve the country’s unique natural and biological diversity, promote a responsible attitude towards animals, and create conditions for raising environmental awareness and culture.

Pursuant to the Law, the Constitutional Court of the Russian Federation shall consist of 11 judges. The Constitutional Court of the Russian Federation shall have the authority to decide on conformity with the Constitution of the Russian Federation of draft laws of the Russian Federation amending the Constitution of the Russian Federation, draft federal constitutional laws and federal laws, as well as adopted laws before they are signed by the President of the Russian Federation; to decide on the possibility of enforcing decisions by supranational bodies based on the Russian Federation’s international treaties, if they contradict the Constitution of the Russian Federation, as well on the possibility of enforcing a binding decision by a foreign or international (interstate) court or arbitration, if this decision contradicts the tenets of public order in the Russian Federation; review laws of the Russian Federation’s constituent entities to ensure their conformity with the Constitution of the Russian Federation before they are promulgated.

Pursuant to the Law amending the Constitution of the Russian Federation, local government bodies shall be included in a single system of public authority of the Russian Federation in order to maximise their efficiency in fulfilling tasks in the interests of the people and working together with state agencies.

The enactment of all these amendments shall be subject to two conditions. The Law amending the Constitution of the Russian Federation provides for submitting a request to the Constitutional Court of the Russian Federation for reviewing the conformity of proposed amendments with Chapters 1, 2 and 9 of the Constitution of the Russian Federation. If the Constitutional Court of the Russian Federation issues an opinion confirming that that proposed amendments are consistent with the Constitution of the Russian Federation, a national vote shall be held.

If more than one half of citizens taking part in the national vote approve the amendments to the Constitution of the Russian Federation, the amendments to Chapters 3 through 8 of the Constitution of the Russian Federation as set out in the Law amending the Constitution of the Russian Federation shall enter into force.

March 14, 2020