Constitution of the Russian Federation

   Adopted by national referendum on 21 December 1993, the Russian Constitution officially replaced the 1977 Soviet-era Constitution of the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic on 25 December 1993. A narrow majority of voters approved the new constitution in a poll that saw the turnout of 55 percent of the electorate. The preamble stresses the democratic and multinational character of the Russian Federation, as well as a strong sense of nationalism. The creation of a new constitution precipitated the constitutional crisis of 1993 in which President Boris Yeltsin used the military against the parliament, which opposed the strengthening of executive powers. The document, which was agreed to after the crisis, lays out the fundamentals of the constitutional system, the rights of the country’s citizens, the principles of Russian federalism, and the powers of the presidency and the Federal Assembly, among other aspects of governance. Its chief architect was Oleg Rumyantsev, who spent months at the United States Library of Congress studying the drafting process of the country’s 1787 constitution. The Russian Constitution has been criticized for granting too much power to the president, an inadequate separation of powers, and confusing language on center-periphery relations and the concept of “people’s sovereignty,” and for failing to focus heavily enough on rule of law.
   See also Holidays.

Historical Dictionary of the Russian Federation. . 2010.

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