8 December 2016
Over the year there has been a decrease in the number of Russians who believe that the Russian Constitution protects their rights and freedoms, while at the same time there has been an increase in the number of those who think that the Constitution plays no significant part in the life of the country, according to data from a poll by the Levada Centre carried out in the run up to Constitution Day.
During the research 38% of those surveyed expressed the opinion that the Constitution guarantees the rights and freedoms of Russian citizens, against 48% in the course of a similar survey the previous year. Over this same time period there was a growth from 13% to 20% of Russians who were certain that the “As far as they see it, hardly anyone thinks the Constitution plays a significant role in the life of the country, as Newsru.com reports.
Those who think that the Constitution keeps government affairs to order has decreased: 25% against 28% a year ago. Together with this, there was a growth of 5% to 7% in those who believed that the Constitution “seems to be a way for the president to allow him to control the Duma.”
9% of respondents believe that Russian authorities observe the country’s constitutional law “in full”; 35% believe they observe the law “in general”; 37% that it is “just in part”; while 12% of those taking part in the survey think the authorities “pay no attention to it at all.” The remaining 8% found it difficult to answer.
In addition, 41% of respondents admitted to the sociologists that they had never read the Constitution, another 24% said that they had read it, but did not remember anything, and just as many that they understood it pretty badly. 11% replied that they remembered fairly well what the Constitution was about. These figures have not changed over two years.
70% of respondents seem well informed about the observation of 12th December as Constitution Day, but this figure has fallen by 6% in comparison with last year. 2% of respondents indicated a different festival, while 28% struggled to answer.
The survey was conducted from 18th to 21st November 2016 among 1600 people in 130 residential areas of the Russian Federation.
The Russian Constitution was adopted on 12th December 1993 in a nationwide vote and came into effect on the day of its official publication on 25th December 1993. After this, over the course of 11 years, 12th December, has been a public holiday; however, in 2004 the decision was taken to move the public holiday to Russia Day on 12th July. Nevertheless, the day of adopting the Constitution remains a commemorative date.
In spite of the fact that the Constitution should not really be changed, over the past years there have been a number of important changes introduced, for example increasing the length of the presidency terms, and adding Crimea and Sebastopol to the list of subjects of the federation.
Translated by Frances Robson
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