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“Circle of the President turning into some kind of order”

«Круг президента превращается в некий орден»

Amendments to the Constitution and the new Prime Minister Mishustin: where Putin led Russia? The Opinion Of Andrei Kolesnikov

Second day in Russia to discuss the constitutional amendments proposed on the eve of President Vladimir Putin in his message to the Federal Assembly. Emotions the first wave passed. Now is the time to answer the question: what was it? What in practice will turn to the political system of innovation? About it I spoke with the head of the program “Russian domestic politics and political institutions,” Carnegie Moscow Center Andrei Kolesnikov.

“This is the most uncivilized and wild, the President’s proposal”

— What most surprised you in the President’s message?

— Most shocking I would call the proposal to establish the priority of national law over international law and international treaties. This proposal cannot be assessed rationally, and it can have incredibly negative consequences for the citizens of the Russian Federation. The small negative consequence is the impossibility of challenging the decisions of the Russian courts to the ECHR. The biggest negative consequence is not clear the role of international law in regulating the behavior of Russia not only in the international arena, but also in the political and legal system of Russia. This is the most uncivilized and wild, the President’s proposal.


— But he didn’t say directly that it cancels the decision of the ECHR. He said: “the requirements of international law and treaties as well as decisions of international bodies can act on the territory of Russia only to the extent that they do not entail restrictions on the rights and freedoms of man and citizen, consistent with our Constitution.” This suggests that is unlikely to cancel the effect of international decisions fell swoop. Or do you not trust this definition?

— About necessity of a cancelling of decisions of the ECHR on the territory of Russia still spoke in 2016 Chairman of the constitutional court Valery Zorkin. So I’m sure this is one of the main motivations in Putin’s statement. Just as long as it is not clear how this will work with point of view, even formal rights. And specialists in international law at a complete loss. This effectively cancels the effect of international law, international contracts, contacts with international organizations, including the UN. This has never happened before in the modern history of Russia. Even in the Soviet Union such things were not allowed.

«Круг президента превращается в некий орден»Vladimir Putin meets with the working group to change Конституции

— That is, we can say that finally fulfilled the demands of the state Duma Deputy Yevgeny Fyodorov and his organization “National liberation movement”. He has long argued that it is necessary to remove from the Constitution the thesis of the priority of international law over national law, to secure the sovereignty of Russia. All laughed at him, saying that he was crazy. But Putin went to the people with the same idea, and everyone clapped.

Is a General property of the evolution of Putin’s authoritarian system. What seems impossible yesterday becomes a reality today. Who would have guessed that in the modern world possible annexation? It turns out that it is possible and it is declared the norm. Who yesterday thought that might actually be a complete defence of Stalinism and the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact? Yesterday it seemed impossible, today it is the norm. The same goes for the legal system.

— How will this affect the perception of Russia in the international arena and what can result?

— This is an obvious step to further isolate Russia. I think that now the leaders of Western countries are in a stupor, because it is unclear how to treat this. Here we need a specification of how Russia will operate in the international community with such a provision in the Constitution, it is now impossible to imagine. International lawyers are at an impasse. I hope that in the course of preparing the amendments will be softening that position.

— One of the perennial demands of the Nod — transfers Vladimir Putin’s emergency powers. Putin announced the change of status of the state Council, whose head he is. Not expand it, together with the change of status of the state Council and the authority of its President? And thus Putin will receive those powers, which previously said the representatives of GCD?

— Your rightness that GCD expressed in extreme form what is in the minds of the Kremlin strategists. But still the offers Putin a lot of confusion. On the one hand, he referred to the state Council as a structure that you want to register in the Constitution, and in a completely natural way, the Institute becomes his new work place after the end of his term of office. On the other hand, it is hard to believe that Putin is ready to release the main reins out of their hands, after all, the powers of the President are very large. Even the formal President has very great power. We see the example of Medvedev, who was considered a weak President. Nevertheless, it was his presidency, not Putin. Putin, as Prime Minister, was very jealous that Medvedev conducts himself in office, at least to some extent independently.

But while Putin has promised to remove from the Constitution the phrase “two consecutive terms”, then he’s still gone from the post of President. Where? The position of the national leader of the nation, it seems that this position can be formalized in the status of the head of the state Council. At his door the sign says: “Putin and his staff”. It is dangerous for him, in terms of the fact that the new elite will be able to calculate a lame duck, will evaluate it as a retiree? Perhaps the danger is there. But we need to wait for what the authority will prescribe the working group to develop amendments to the Constitution.

— By the way, how do you evaluate the group?

— Over the 1993 Constitution worked serious people with impeccable professional credentials. Klishas Prilepin as constitutionalists is an affront to the Constitution of the Russian Federation. Klishas promoted and covered his name the most monstrous and unconstitutional repressive laws. And he will rule the Constitution of our country? This from the standpoint of law and from the point of view of morality does not hold water. It is even impossible to compare with the Soviet time. The Brezhnev Constitution was created by professionals. Though in the end was a simulation. In comparison with past times is an incredible degradation of the Russian legal science. Krasheninnikov least against this background and with an incredibly flexible spine, but he still gipercalziurii lawyer. A hope.

«Круг президента превращается в некий орден»Members of the working group on the amendment of the Constitution РФ

— And why Putin has attracted a working group of such people? What he wanted to say — the representatives of the masses to create a new Constitution? Kind of like we will have a people’s Constitution?

— Putin has built a corporate state like Mussolini. We have some corporations. A Corporation of theatrical figures, that the writers Corporation, a Corporation of the don Cossacks, and so on. From each Corporation according to the man in ways that mimic people’s discussion.

— How do you assess the procedure of “popular vote”, which should be taken on these amendments?

— I think this will be the formal support of the population, which mechanically will vote without knowing for what. Even if it is in the mode of a poll, this will allow Putin to say that these amendments have received popular support. And the status of this vote is unclear. Another strange detail in the proposals of the President.

“Mishustin quite similar to Fradkov, Zubkov or Medvedev”

— Mostly liberal and democratic forces a negative view of Putin’s proposal. But whether in his message and positive aspects? I mean a mandatory requirement for regional heads, deputies, Federation Council members, heads of other bodies and judges not to have foreign citizenship or residence permit in another country. Is Bulk and the FCO did not achieve the same? At least residency and citizenship in another country, as well as real estate and accounts abroad is one of the objects of criticism in the investigations of the FCO. And now this practice would end. Is the requirement for MPs and senators not to have foreign citizenship contrary to the liberal idea?

In my opinion, it’s definitely a bad move, man must be free in choosing citizenship and residency. These factors do not affect the quality of governance. You can be one hundred percent loyal to the boss, to be extremely inefficient official. It is a step to further the so-called nationalization of elites, the attempt to tie up property and citizenship in the middle and the far circle of the President. That is, this circle turns into a kind of order, which does not limit itself in wealth, but limited in the contacts with Western countries.

«Круг президента превращается в некий орден»Mikhail Mishustin during consideration of his nomination to Gospodarstva Duma of the Russian Federation

— Speaking about the quality of public administration, how do you assess the figure of Michael mishustina for the post of Prime Minister? This is a technical candidate or a Putin on it has far-reaching plans?

— His fate depends on the millions of factors that will act in politics. And there’s a variety of varied options to the extent that he may well be the successor. What I definitely not believe so that it is temporary Prime Minister Fradkov type. Fradkov is the figure, which Putin teased elite, demonstrating their ability to irritate the political class. Zubkov was just a transitional Prime Minister and stayed in that position for long. Mishustin intended to put on the place a technocrat, who embodies the commitment of Russia to a technological breakthrough. To be honest, yesterday I thought this post will supply the Chairman of the government Maxim Akimov. A relatively young, modern, based its activities on the understanding of new technologies. Putin went counterintuitive way, he chose not sverkhvysokochastotnogo candidate, and several below grade. As I said, he [Mishustin] a technocrat, does not belong to any economic clans. He has successfully shown itself in the case of digitalization, it is believed that the tax service works well. At the same time he did polucilosi functions. Fiscal function is partly related to the pressure and harassment of those who try to evade taxes. And it turns out that Mishustin quite similar to Fradkov, Zubkov or Medvedev.

— What to expect from the new Prime Minister from the point of view of social policy, which has emphasized to Putin in the first part of his message? His predecessor, Medvedev and his supporters, the left was constantly criticized for “antisocialist”.

— I would call it an optimizer and an innovator. Its technocratic component could contribute to more effective expenditure of budgetary funds. The problem of the same projects is not that there are misplaced priorities, and simply the money can not spend. Whether the economy don’t take the money, whether it’s a chronic manifestation of bureaucratic implementation. When in nine months the cost of the national project “Digital economy” implemented only 20%, this raises questions about the performance of government officials. Probably from mishustina will require the elimination of such inefficiencies.

As for Medvedev and his “antisocialist”, that in fact the government headed by Putin. The government has a technical secondary importance in the system formed by it. And it plays a leading role not even the Prime Minister, and the Minister of Finance, who is responsible for the revenues and expenditures of the budget, until yesterday it was Silvanus. So it would be logical to appoint the Prime Minister Siluanov, not mishustina. But the way the personnel policy of Putin, that he did not choose the obvious candidates for such positions.

«Круг президента превращается в некий орден»Michael Мишустин

— In your opinion, how deep will be a rotation of personnel in the new government? Will there, for example, Silvanus, Oreshkin, and the like technocrats?

— Actually, who will remain in the government, does not really matter. You can even form a coalition government, which will be the Communists and LDPR members. It will still be controlled by people who are ideologically indistinguishable from United Russia. It is difficult to imagine that the new government could be someone worse than the Minister of culture or Minister of education than the current figures. In these directions down. So who will occupy these positions, it does not matter. Important positions in the government is the Minister of Finance, Minister of economic development, Vice-premiers, the head of the government apparatus. I don’t think Siluanov touched. Oreshkin is a supporter of more government intervention, dirigist, so it fits in with Putin’s worldview. But it is important that the government remained rational. It represents Siluanov. If it still remains, it is possible to speak about a certain paleoliberalism economic bloc. To this block I’ll take Kudrin and Nabiullina. But Putin seems to be no claims that showed of his recent meeting with the same Kudrin.

“When Putin talks about empowerment, need to wait for their restrictions”

— How do you assess the changing role of Parliament in the political system? Some observers are inclined to believe that finally he will play a greater role when the state Duma will not coordinate, and to assert the statue to the position of head of government, his deputies and Ministers. Someone even believes that Russia is moving from a presidential Republic to a presidential-parliamentary one.

The political system is presidential. The fact that the state Duma will approve, and not to agree on a Prime Minister and Deputy Prime Ministers, this does not affect neither the name of the Prime Minister, nor on Putin’s choice. Imagine the current Parliament, which would not agree with Putin on nominations of the Prime Minister and his deputies, it is impossible. Therefore, Parliament remains a decorative organ, which is only needed in order to start changing the Constitution. And it is not liberalization of the regime, it is ridiculous even to speak.

— How do you assess the President’s proposals regarding local self-government? I think this part was the most vague. Here are the words of Putin: “I Consider it necessary to enshrine in the Constitution the principles of a unified system of public authority. To build an effective interaction between the state and municipal authorities. With the authority and the real possibility of local government closest to the people can and should be expanded and strengthened”. How all this will dovetail with the vertical power and authority of the governors, what’s that all about? Maybe you figured out the secret meaning of the message?

— I would call this proposal doughy. It has generated more questions than answers, as you indicate. In General, whenever Putin talks about empowerment, need to wait for their contraction. In Russia there was a real empowerment of local government must roll over state pyramid. A coup of this pyramid will be possible only when local government will have money, now the municipalities are deprived of money. This, incidentally, is one of the reasons for the uneven development of regions in Russia and in General poverty and backwardness. This is our centralized pyramid, closed on Moscow and not assuming independence, and generates a miserable existence on the periphery.

— After all, how do you understand the phrase “principles of the unified system of public authority”, in practice it will lead to anything? Except now she’s not single?

— It is, of course, now unified. I understand this statement as juggling words, which has no relation to reality.

«Круг президента превращается в некий орден»The President собранию

In his message, Putin has paid attention to the judicial system. He said: “a Key role in ensuring the rule of law and citizens’ rights judicial system is the constitutional and the Supreme court. Let me stress that should be definitive, not only the professionalism of judges, but also trust in him.” And suggested that the Federation Council had authority to represent the Russian President to dismiss judges of the constitutional and Supreme courts in case they commit misconduct discrediting the honor and dignity. Besides, the constitutional court may verify the laws before they will be signed by the head of state. What does that tell you?

— I think that this is a purely hardware logic: give each stick. The constitutional court got the right to check the laws for their compliance with the Constitution, I think this will only drive him the role of expert to the small filter and in a sense, humiliates him. In General, today this function is performed by the state legal Directorate of the President, headed by a qualified lawyer Larisa Brycheva. This, however, will not save the system from the approval of the President of the anti-legal and repressive laws.

— All these amendments to the Constitution are regarded as preparing the ground for the transit authority. Can we say that now the factor of foreign policy as a way of preserving its citizens ‘ loyalty a thing of the past? Next “we” will not be the same Belarus have nothing to fear, a way to extend Putin’s reign found?

— After 2018 foreign mobilization ceased to play the role of engine of Putin’s rating. However has not been removed from the agenda is aggressive and isolationist behavior of Russia in the international arena, attempts to intervene in numerous international events, posing a global spoiler. The same Syria is no longer able to concentrate the attention of the masses, people are concerned about social issues. And Russia is not everywhere perceived in the world as she wants it. The last case associated with the attempt of Russia to act as a peacemaker in Libya, shows that Putin is not a large-scale authority for warring parties in Africa. Next, we saw the failure of Russia in Venezuela. Tried to make her area of influence, but not very good. In southern and Eastern Europe, Putin is not able to influence. Then there are attempts to spoil the spoiler as is, but it’s by and large useless.

— What remains to do of the opposition to this new political reality?

In this model, the opposition has nowhere to fit in. This pre-apical constitutional coup that does not change the meaning of the system, it is authoritarian, focused on suppression of any opposition. What will change the procedure of appointment of Prime-Minister and his deputies, nothing will change in the positions of ships, which put the protesters in the position of the Ministry of justice, which does not register the democratic party. The amendments proposed by Putin for the opposition, neutral — they neither worsen nor improve its position.

«Круг президента превращается в некий орден»Vladimir Putin meets with government members РФ

— Medvedev as the unpopular politician was removed from the post of Prime Minister. But he remains the head of “United Russia”. She has too low rating. But do not come up in the Kremlin to create a new “party of power”, which is responsible for raising the retirement age and taxes?

— After the Congress of “United Russia” all the candidates from the government is given a clear indication to associate themselves with this party. Today its ratings have stabilized. Today, 47% are ready to vote for “United Russia”, is a good indicator. So we can say that the fall of the rating of “United Russia” is suspended. Will now try again to turn this party into a career lift and a source of social benefits. In General, the party system remained the same. No one was to reform the Communist party and LDPR. This is partly due to the fact that the party in the list of trust in political institutions is one of the last places, so what’s the point to shake up the party system. And anyway, it’s too late to start new projects, elections to the state Duma soon.

Medvedev will leave the post in the “United Russia” or not is not so important. More important is to reflect on his new position — Deputy Chairman of the security Council. And the President is Putin. Previously this position was not. This post reminds structure: President, Vice — President. This is a very high position. But, perhaps this is a springboard on which you can sit Medvedev for something else. This “something else” can be anything from pensions to the status of a candidate. Here we come to the shaky position of assumptions that the elections of the President and Parliament can go ahead of time, while the degree of social tension is not so high. The new Prime Minister and new President will be responsible for the plight of the people. Let them responsible for the social sphere, and Putin would stand aside as a national leader that promises different benefits to people. But all this is only a hypothesis.

— Will the elections to the state Duma in 2021 really competitive in light of the amendments that MPs should not have foreign citizenship? Should we expect the arrival of fresh forces and new faces? The more that is announced about the creation of a new party, even “direct democracy Party” from the game developer World of Tanks.

— I don’t think much will change the nature of the electoral process. It seems to me that since there is little time left before the elections, everything will go in a predictable manner. While the task is to keep the design that is and to enter a new political cycle. I think everything will be about the same as in 2016.

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