Staunton, February 6 – “Russia has never lived according to a Constitution, Abrakham Mayvin says. “Before the 20th century, it didn’t have one, and when it was formally put in place, it did not become a guarantee of legality or interfere with the establishment of authoritarian and totalitarian powers that contradicted the spirit and the letter of the Constitution.”
According to the Moscow commentator writing for the Kasparov.ru portal, “the state of present-day Russian society is such that the only reliable way to achieve a situation in which a Constitution won’t be violated in Russia is to do away with it entirely” (kasparov.ru/material.php?id=5E3C5550B3482).
Indeed, Mayvin continues, “this would be the first step toward the realization of the many centuries’ long dream of Russian people of conscience ‘to live not by lies.’ But the chief obstacle to doing away with a Russian constitution is “of course, the authorities because for them, the Constitution plays a fundamentally important role.”
That was made clear by one Soviet prosecutor who told rights activist Sergey Kovalyev to stop citing the Constitution when he complained about conditions in the GULAG. “The Soviet constitution was written not for you but for American negroes so that they will understand well how happily the Soviet people live.”
This is no great secret for the Russian people who have long dismissed the constitution as just words on paper that the authorities have no intention of following and that the people have no way of defending. “For a Constitution to work, one must want and be able to defend it;” and that isn’t the case in Russia.
“Russians overwhelmingly even today do not understand, in Ayn Rand’s words, that “government is established in order to defend the individual from criminals but a constitution is written to defend the individual from the government.” Until they do, Mayvin says, living without any constitution is the more honest option.