Constitutional Court

Powers, establishment and operations procedure of the Russian Constitutional Court are determined by the Russian Constitution and Federal Constitutional Law in the Russian Constitutional Court.

From May 2008 the Constitutional Court of the Russian Federation is located at 1, Senatskaya ploshchad, Saint Petersburg, Russia


The first constitutional court appeared in Austria; its concept was developed by Austrian Lawyer Hans Kelzen.

After WWII, a Constitutional Court appeared in the Federal Republic of Germany (the FRG Constitutional Court), and then, when the Fifth Republic was established in France in 1958 (the Constitutional Council of France, with a number of judicial functions but limited powers), when the country was federalized in Belgium (Constitutional Court of Belgium, originally called the Arbitration Court, but having constitutional powers from the very beginning). In 1986, the Constitutional Tribunal appeared in Poland, and early in the 1990“s, virtually in all East European countries (including in Russia, the Russian Constitutional Court).

There are no constitutional courts in a number of states, and the Supreme Court has powers to determine whether or not laws are constitutional (and to cancel contradicting constitutions) (for instance, in the U.S.A.; also see the Swiss Supreme Court).

In the Soviet Union, the USSR Law on Constitutional Supervision in the USSR of December 23, 1989, No. 973-I, vested the functions of constitutional supervision on legislative bodies — Councils of People’s Deputies. The Constitutional Supervision Committee was set at the Supreme Court. The same committees were established at the Supreme Courts of union and autonomous republics.

Powers of the Constitutional Court:

  • At the requests of the Russian President, the Federation Council or one fifth of its members, the State Duma or one fifth of its deputies, the Russian Government, the Russian Supreme Court, the Russian Supreme Arbitration Curt, legislative and executive authorities of the Russian Federation constituents, it considers and settles cases as to conformity of federal laws regulations of the Russian President, the Federation Council, the State Duma, the Russian Government, constitutions of republics, articles of association and also laws and other regulations of the Russian Federation constituents published in connection with maintenance by the Russian Federation and joint maintenance of contracts between pubic authorities, international treaties that have not taken legal effect to the Russian Constitution;
  • it settles disputes on competence between public authorities;
  • based on complaints as to violation of constitutional rights and freedoms of nationals and based on court requests, it verifies the constitutional nature of the law applied or to be applied in any particular case;
  • based on the requests from the Russian President, the State Duma, the Russian Government, legislative bodies of the Russian Federation constituents, it interprets the Russian Constitution;
  • at the request of the Federation Council, it gives an opinion as to compliance with the established manner for bringing an action against the Russian President;
  • it exercises other powers provided to it by federal constitutional laws (e.g., at the request of the Russian President, verifies the constitutional nature of the Russian referendum).

The Constitutional Court of the Russian Federation comprises nineteen arbitrators appointed to their position for the lifetime by the Federation Council, at the recommendation of the Russian President. The Constitutional Court of the Russian Federation is competent if at least three fourths of the total number of arbiters is present in it. Powers of the Constitutional Court of the Russian Federation shall exist indefinitely.

The Constitutional Court comprises:

  • Valery ZORKIN
  • Yuri DANILOV
  • Nikolay BONDAR
  • Gadis GADZHIEV
  • Lyudmila ZHARKOVA
  • Gennady ZHILIN
  • Sergei KAZANTSEV
  • Mikhail KLEANDROV
  • Sergei KNYAZEV
  • Aleksandr KOKOTOV
  • Anatoly KONONOV
  • Sergei MAVRIN
  • Konstantin ARANOVSKY
  • Nikolai MELNIKOV
  • Yuri RUDKIN
  • Nikolai SELEZNEV
  • Anatoly SLIVA
  • Vladimir STREKOZOV
  • Boris EBZEEV