Values as Declarations: How Constitutional Review Fails to Safeguard Core Commitments of Constitutionalism in Russia

The Russian Constitutional Court has always positioned itself as an institution established to defend core constitutional values, principles and commitments. In reality, except for the very first years of its existence, the RCC has taken a modest (and often insincere) approach of adapting constitutional values to almost any political initiative. In times when fundamental principles of democratic order, such as political pluralism, local self-government and others, were most vulnerable, the RCC has chosen to trust the legislator and interfere only with minor technical corrections. In this paper, I will provide two explanations of the failure of the RCC to protect the core commitments of constitutionalism in Russia: 1) lack of powers to review constitutional amendments, and 2) lack of institutional independence of the RCC.