Veterans’ rights in the Russian constitutional court, 1993-2010
Since the Russian Constitution was adopted in 1993, many citizens have submitted complaints of perceived violations of their constitutional rights to the Russian Constitutional Court. The study analyzes final Court decisions on fifty-five complaints initiated by Russian veterans. Many of these cases related to veterans’ access to social welfare benefits; the Court rejected most of the cases. Generally speaking, while veterans argued that they were entitled to particular rights as veterans, the Court denied that veterans deserved special rights that were above and beyond the rights of the individual citizen. However, the Court acknowledged the special status of World War II veterans, on the basis of their extraordinary sacrifices. The decisions show a gap between the veterans’ perceptions of their rights and the interpretation of those rights. They also demonstrate that although the Court is formally a body for seeking judicial remedies, it is also a discursive arena in the debate over the Russian state’s interpretation of the Soviet past.