In a recent interview with journalist Vladimir Solovyov, Russian President Vladamir Putin revealed that he has no plans to dismiss Russia’s government despite demands to do so from Russia’s oppositional coalition. Such a move may very likely be the first official step toward Putin officially shrugging the loose facade that is the rule of law in Russia.
For many American who are well-versed only in their Constitutional-Republic style of governance, the idea of a president being able to dismiss a government is likely both confusing and absurd. Russia, however, does not possess the same form of governance as the U.S..
Russia’s government is parliamentarian in nature and, therefore, adheres to a different method of balancing the power structure. Russia has a State Duma (think Congress), a government (think Presidential Cabinet), and a president (think – well… president).
According to Article 117 subsection 3 of the Russian Constitution, “The State Duma may express no-confidence to the Government of the Russian Federation. A no-confidence resolution shall be adopted by a majority of votes of the total number of the deputies of the State Duma. After the State Duma expresses no-confidence to the Government of the Russian Federation, the President of the Russian Federation shall be free to announce the resignation of the Government or to reject the decision of the State Duma. In case the State Duma again expresses no-confidence to the Government of the Russian Federation during three months, the President of the Russian Federation shall announce the resignation of the Government or dissolve the State Duma.”
What Article 117 says in more palatable terms is that if the State Duma registers an official vote of “No Confidence” toward the current government (“We officially don’t like/trust the current government.”), the the Russian president is free to dismiss or keep the current government. If, however, within three months the State Duma registers yet another vote of “No Confidence,” then the Russian president must dismiss the current government or dissolve the State Duma and hold elections.
So why should Putin’s stiff-upper-lip approach to the rising calls of “No Confidence” be read as a possible prelude to an official dictatorial administration? Well, to be fair, maybe it shouldn’t be. There has technically not been a registered vote of “No Confidence” from the State Duma as of yet — just strong urgings. Furthermore, even if there had been an official vote of “No Confidence” registered by the State Duma, Putin would not be in violation of the Russian Constitution by ignoring the first vote.
However, given Putin’s infamous reputation of getting what he wants — no matter what — coupled with his recent remarks demonstrating his refusal to bend, one may very likely be justified in viewing the current state of affairs as the foreshadowing of a coming Putin-helmed dictatorial administration. Should Putin ignore the likely imminent first vote of “No Confidence” and the subsequent second vote of “No Confidence,” Putin will have officially liberated his administration from all forms of constitutional bondage.
[Image Credit to Daily News]