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Hastings Constitutional Law Quarterly

Abstract

On March 26,2000, Vladimir Putin was elected president in Russia. He had been Russia's interim president since December 31,1999, when Boris Yeltsin stepped down in a surprising act. Putin was Yeltsin's final prime minister, appointed less than six months prior to becoming acting president.

Putin, as the next president of Russia, will be guided by Russia's 1993 constitution and by Yeltsin's example. This Note examines the process of adoption of the 1993 constitution and the way in which it has been implemented and followed over the last seven years. The Note suggests that the constitution was adopted and has been used as a vehicle for Yeltsin to rule Russia as an autocrat. This may have disturbing consequences for the future with a president who may not be as reform-minded as Yeltsin. Historical comparisons illustrate how dangerous circumstances in Russia can become. The Note concludes that there is no way to predict what will happen in the future for Russia, but that the world should watch closely and hope for further reform and true rule of law for Russia.

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