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Foreign Policy Analysis
Putin: Constitutional Changes Will Ban Russians With Dual Citizenship & Foreign Residence From Power

Putin: Constitutional Changes Will Ban Russians With Dual Citizenship & Foreign Residence From Power

We can move towards this goal only with the active participation of society, our citizens and, of course, intense and productive work of all branches and levels of government, the potential of which should be expanded. In this regard, I would like to spend a moment discussing state structure and domestic policy, which are defined by the Fundamental Law of our country – the Constitution of the Russian Federation. I keep getting these questions all the time, including at the most recent annual news conference. Clearly, we cannot but agree with those who say that the Constitution was adopted over 25 years ago amidst a severe internal political crisis and the state of affairs has completely overturned since then. Thank goodness, there is no more armed confrontation in the capital or a hotbed of international terrorism in the North Caucasus. Despite a number of acute unsolved problems that we talked about today, the socioeconomic situation has stabilised, after all. Today some political public associations are raising the issue of adopting a new Constitution I want to answer straight off: I believe there is no need for this. Potential of the 1993 Constitution is far from being exhausted and I hope that pillars of our constitutional system, rights and freedoms will remain the foundation of strong values for Russian society for decades to come. In the meantime, statements regarding changes to the Constitution have already been made. And I find it possible to express my view and propose a number of constitutional amendments for discussion, amendments that, in my opinion, are reasonable and important for the further development of Russia as a rule-of-law welfare state where citizens’ freedoms and rights, human dignity and wellbeing constitute the highest value. Firstly, Russia can be and can remain Russia only as a sovereign state. Our nation’s sovereignty must be unconditional. We have done a great deal to achieve this. We restored our state’s unity. We have overcome the situation when certain powers in the government were essentially usurped by oligarch clans. Russia has returned to international politics as a country whose opinion cannot be ignored. We created powerful reserves, which multiplies our country’s stability and capability to protect its citizens’ social rights and the national economy from any attempts of foreign pressure. I truly believe that it is time to introduce certain changes to our country’s main law, changes that will directly guarantee the priority of the Russian Constitution in our legal framework. What does it mean? It means literally the following: requirements of international law and treaties as well as decisions of international bodies can be valid on the Russian territory only to the point that they do not restrict the rights and freedoms of our people and citizens and do not contradict our Constitution. Second, I suggest formalising at the constitutional level the obligatory requirements for those who hold positions of critical significance for national security and sovereignty. More precisely, the heads of the constituent entities, members of the Federation Council, State Duma deputies, the prime minister and his/her deputies, federal ministers, heads of federal agencies and judges should have no foreign citizenship or residence permit or any other document that allows them to live permanently in a foreign state. The goal and mission of state service is to serve the people, and those who enter this path must know that by doing this they inseparably connect their lives with Russia and the Russian people without any assumptions and allowances. Requirements must be even stricter for presidential candidates. I suggest formalizing a requirement under which presidential candidates must have had permanent residence in Russia for at least 25 years and no foreign citizenship or residence permit and not only during the election campaign but at any time before it too. I know that people are discussing the constitutional provision under which one person cannot hold the post of the President of the Russian Federation for more than two consecutive terms. I do not regard this as a matter of principle, but I nevertheless support and share this view.

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