Monday, June 12, 2023

Having Been Forced to Disband Its Constitutional Court, Tatarstan has Formed a Constitutional Council to Perform Many of the Same Tasks

Paul Goble

            Staunton, June 9 – Moscow forced Tatarstan like all the other autonomous republics of the Russian Federation to disband its constitutional court, but in contrast to the others and consistent with its parrying of challenges from the center, Kazan has now formed a constitutional council that will fulfil many of the same tasks that the court did.

            How Moscow will react to this is not certain; but past practice suggests that the Kremlin may well decide that having gotten half a loaf without serious political consequences is better than seeking a whole one and facing the risk of those (

            Kazan’s latest action is based on language taken from its new republic constitution as adopted on January 26. That document specifies that “in order to strengthen constitutional legality in the Republic of Tatarstan, a Constitutional Council can be formed in correspondence with the laws of the Republic.”

            The republic’s parliament has now voted unanimously, with only one abstention, to form such a body. Republic head Rustam Minnikhanov is expected to sign it.

The new Constitutional Council will provide evaluations of proposed changes to the republic’s constitution and answer questions about fundamental law from various state organs. In addition, it will consider appeals by citizens and public groups concerning the violation and defense of their rights.

These are much the same tasks the Constitutional Court fulfilled, but the major difference is that the new Council will have only an advisory role and will not have the ability to direct others to follow its recommendations. Nonetheless, its composition which includes many who served on the earlier court make it likely that this Council will be extremely influential.

It will be worth tracking whether other autonomous republics within the Russian Federation will make use of this Tatarstan precedent. 


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