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Meeting with Constitutional Court judges

December 12, 2023, Novo-Ogaryovo, Moscow Region

Vladimir Putin held a meeting with judges of the Russian Federation Constitutional Court in Novo-Ogaryovo, timed to coincide with Constitution Day, to be marked on December 12.

President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Mr Zorkin, colleagues,

I am delighted to welcome all of you. I would like to begin our meeting by congratulating you and all citizens of Russia on the 30th anniversary of the Constitution, the fundamental law of our country.

We all remember the situation in which the Constitution was adopted. It was a challenging time for the country marked by an acute civil and political confrontation. Nevertheless, the people who were working on the Constitution and organising events to adopt it, as well as all the political forces in the country, found the courage to go to the referendum and adopt the basic law.

Naturally, this played a crucial role in safeguarding Russia from fragmentation and disintegration. This essential role continues to be of paramount importance, meaning that the primary focus of the Constitution is to protect the rights, freedoms, and interests of our citizens.

The Constitution is a living organism, as President of the Constitutional Court Mr Zorkin has said many times. This is why amendments were introduced a few years ago to adapt to new conditions, reflecting the rapidly changing situation both domestically and internationally. As you know, a nationwide referendum was held and those amendments were adopted. They remain important and contribute to strengthening the direction that upholds our traditional values and the historical continuity of generations. Additionally, various other social issues were addressed.

All this shows that the Basic law of our country works, lives, helps the state, stabilises the state, helps people. And citizens, for their part, turn to the Constitutional Court to protect their rights.

This year, how many – more than 50, there were 54 rulings, I think?

President of the Constitutional Court Valery Zorkin: As of the end of November.

Vladimir Putin: Yes, as of the end of November, there were 54 rulings.

I would also like to draw your attention to the fact that many of them required direct action on the part of legislators. Twenty-five, if I am not mistaken, 25 decisions have already been adopted. The rest, I think, are also being worked on.

However, we already have a considerable number of Constitutional Court rulings which have yet to be properly enforced. We will work on this together with you.

In any case, our citizens often turn to the highest court in the last instance in order, I repeat once again, to guarantee and ensure and protect their rights.

It is also encouraging that the Constitutional Court has returned to the practice of holding international events and conferences. I think that representatives of 16 countries took part.

Valery Zorkin: Fifty people in all came.

Vladimir Putin: Yes, 50 people in total came. Sixteen countries participated directly.

Vladimir Zorkin: Almost from all regions, except Western Europe.

Vladimir Putin: God be with them. They have many problems of their own. When they get over them, I am sure they will resume their participation.

In general, our constitutional process is stable, it is developing, as we have just noted, I mean the adoption of amendments, the Constitution itself is developing. And the judges of the Constitutional Court, of course, understand not only the essence, not only the content, the general meaning, but you are also experts in specific areas, substantive issues related to the Constitution. And of course, I expect that together we will continue this constructive work, which has been going on for many years.

I would like to thank you once again for your mission as the primary interpreters of the country’s Basic law and I hope to continue this joint work. Thank you very much.

Mr Zorkin, please.


Vladimir Putin: Mr Zorkin, you just mentioned how, from the point of view, or as diplomats say, “from the angle,” of the Constitutional Court, the country has been moving forward, what issues and challenges it has faced, but during all these years the Constitutional Court has been standing guard over the Constitution, which is crucial. This is my first point.

Second, all executive bodies – even though not everything has been implemented yet – but I assure you, all executive and legislative bodies are closely following the Constitutional Court’s rulings and position. Even the Prime Minister occasionally wonders if adopting a particular resolution will conform to the Constitution and whether there will be issues afterwards, and whether the Constitutional Court will later strike down the Government resolution, and so on. We all monitor this very closely, and the authority and opinion of the Constitutional Court are important to everyone.

You mentioned presidential executive orders. Rest assured that the Legal Department of the Presidential Executive Office also looks into everything very carefully from the perspective of compliance of executive orders to be adopted with the Constitution. Then, the orders are subjected to serious preparatory work, as a rule, almost 100 percent of them. All of this involves a very thorough review by all agencies, the Government, the Ministry of Justice. You know it yourself that sometimes, if there are questions, we even try to consult the Constitutional Court to see whether the proposed resolution corresponds to what is written in the Constitution.

The Constitutional Court enjoys high standing and, for my part, I am doing and will do everything to keep it at that level.

You said a great many people petition the court. As far as I understand, there have been over 11,000 as of now.

Valery Zorkin: Yes, over 11,000 as a matter of fact. I think this number will exceed 12,000 by the end of the month.

Vladimir Putin: And these decisions cover a broad variety of areas of law. We analyse all of them carefully. If something is not immediately acted upon – usually, everything is – we can take prompt action on all of these issues in the course of work.

Once again, I would like to thank everyone for the joint work and wish everyone a happy Constitution Day and the 30th anniversary of the adoption of the Constitution.

If there are questions, we can address them right now. We will now thank our colleagues from the media, they can wrap up their work for today. Please, go ahead if you have any questions, suggestions, or thoughts concerning the organisation of our work, or questions concerning our discussion.


December 12, 2023, Novo-Ogaryovo, Moscow Region