Russia is at a constitutional turning point. The outcome of this moment—an anti-constitutional coup or the beginning of a long effort aimed at the restoration of constitutional freedoms and principles that have been gradually usurped for 15 years by reactionary reforms, which have one by one eroded the democratic essence of the Russian Constitution—depends upon the people, according to Elena Lukyanova, Ilya Shablinsky and Vladimir Pastukhov. Today, everything points to the willingness of the authorities to use foreign and domestic challenges—some of them real, others of their own making—to eradicate any remaining sense from the Constitution, they write for the Institute of Modern Russia:
There is every indication that an anti-constitutional coup is already in process. In Russia, power is being concentrated in the hands of unconstitutional authorities that have taken the place of constitutional institutions. Some of these authorities have been formalized (such as the Presidential Administration or the Security Council), while others exist somewhat “beyond politics”—as a small circle of presidential insiders. Russia does not know by whom it is governed, let alone who controls these people.
The constitutional crisis that faces us today must and can be overcome by restoring the democratic essence of the Russian Constitution through a radical but balanced and gradual reform aiming at the restoration of constitutional order in Russia. The Russian public will need to make the decision to embrace such reform in the near future; and it has to be ready to do so. We dream of a strong and prosperous Russia, and we understand that in the modern world, Russia can be strong and prosperous only if it becomes a constitutional state, governed by the rule of law. It took over one hundred tragic years during which the Russian people suffered enormous losses, for this truth to be realized. The current generation needs to make sure that these losses were not in vain.