Communist Party Defends ‘Bourgeois Democracy’ From United Russia Bill

On June 20, Russian State Duma Deputy Aleksandr Torshin from the United Russia party introduced a bill that would allow Russia to effectively ignore decisions handed down against it by the European Court of Human Rights. With United Russia holding an overwhelming majority in the Duma, the measure has more than enough support to pass into law. The Duma Committee on Constitutional Legislation has already announced that it plans to support the measure at plenary session scheduled for today.

With the court (ECHR) routinely ruling in favor of victims of human rights violations either perpetrated by Russian government agencies or that occurred under their watch, the measure poses a serious threat to the rights of Russian citizens. If the bill passes, Russia would still have to pay victims any monetary compensation ordered by the court, but legislative obligations could be fully ignored.

In an ironic twist of fate, the Communist Party has stepped forward as the first Duma faction to contest Torshin’s bill.

As reported by the newspaper Kommersant, a group of deputies from the Communist Party filed an official complaint against the bill on June 28. As it stands, the pending measure would allow Russia’s Constitutional Court to determine for itself whether or not the ECHR’s decisions correspond with the constitution – and thus, whether or not they ought to be enforced. For its part, the Communist faction argues that the 17th article of the Russian constitution “admits and guarantees human and civil rights and freedoms in accordance with the generally accepted principals and norms of international rights and in accordance with the acting constitution,” thus rendering the bill unconstitutional.

The deputies have filed two separate complaints. One was sent to the Tverskoy Regional Court in regards to Torshin himself, who they label as “an official in abuse of his position.” The second complaint was sent to the Supreme Court to contest the bill itself.

“It effectively limits the rights of Russian citizens to protection in the European Court,” explained Communist Party Secretary Sergei Obukhov. Moreover, the Russian constitution, in his words, prohibits the introduction of any legislation that would limit existing civil rights and freedoms.

“Effectively, we are defending a bourgeois democracy that our own bourgeoisie is attacking,” Obukhov said in conclusion.