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30 June 1998
We, the multinational people of the Russian Federation, united by a common destiny on our land, asserting human rights and liberties, civil peace and accord, preserving the historic unity of the state, proceeding from the commonly recognized principles of equality and self-determination of the peoples honoring the memory of our ancestors, who have passed on to us love of and respect for our homeland and faith in good and justice, reviving the sovereign statehood of Russia and asserting its immutable democratic foundations, striving to secure the wellbeing and prosperity of Russia and proceeding from a sense of responsibility for our homeland before the present and future generations, and being aware of ourselves as part of the world community, hereby approve the Constitution of the Russian Federation.
December 12, 1993
Democracy, why everyone else wants it but can’t have it
During the last 200 years, other countries have looked towards the United States in one way or the other as the premier leader of the free world and a model of government. While our system may seem imperfect to other countries, and may appear to be out of control (Vietnam Period) to others, many still seem to desire the rights and benefits that our method of governing possesses.
It is amazing that nowhere in our constitution does it mention the word “Democratic” or “Democracy” but within the preamble of the Russian constitution, the word is mentioned. Was this only an attempt by the framers of the Russian constitution to make it appear to the free world that they have a democracy in action. Was it a ploy to make us think they have changed from the socialist threat to a democratic ally?
The Russian constitution consists of 67 amendments, and although it sounds good and possesses the fundamentals of a democracy, doubt could be raised as to whether it is really implemented within the federation boundaries. I would like to draw your attention to several key amendments from the Russian constitution that I have selected to show a comparison to ours and also to show distinct differences.
1. All people shall be equal before the law and in the court of law.
2. The state shall guarantee the equality of rights and liberties regardless of sex, race, nationality, language, origin, property or employment status, residence, attitude to religion, convictions,
membership of public associations or any other circumstance. Any restrictions of the rights of citizens on social, racial, national, linguistic or religious grounds shall be forbidden.
Man and woman shall have equal rights and liberties and equal opportunities for their pursuit.”
Article 19 of the Russian constitution is similar to our 1st ammendment although it is quite evident that they went into much greater detail in defining who the rights applied to, a lesson no doubt taken from
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us. The Russian Federation, new to democracy has learned from the lessons that they have seen us go through for the last 200 years. They have implemented these lessons into their constitution to preclude themselves from having to endure the same legislative and judicial battles; of course, their constitution was only ratified within the last 7 years.
1. The dignity of the person shall be protected by the state. No circumstance may be used as a pretext for belittling it.
2. No one may be subjected to torture, violence or any other harsh or humiliating treatment or punishment. No one may be subjected to medical, scientific or other experiments without his or her free consent.
What could have possibly been going through their mind when they drafted this amendment? Do you think KGB practices over the last 75 years may have had something to do with it? Or do you think they have learned from the mistakes that we have made such as the nuclear testing with soldiers or syphilis testing with black males?
1. It shall be forbidden to gather, store, use and disseminate information on the private life of any person without his/her consent.
If only the framers of our constitution had the foresight to include this very specific amendment into our constitution. Again, I am sure that the Russian framers had seen what had happened during not only the communist reign but also
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James Madison, United States Constitution, Constitution, Constitution of Puerto Rico, Constitution of India
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