Socialist Constitutional Legacies

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Sergei Belov, William Partlett, Alexandra Troitskaya



With the end of the Cold War, many assumed that socialism, together with the specific constitutional values and political structures was dead (or dying). This article will challenge these assumptions. Post-Cold War reality did not, however, follow these assumptions. Some countries, especially in Asia, continue to adhere to socialist constitutional approaches. Some cannot fully overcome their socialist legacy. And still others include socialist values in their constitutions and practice. These values and ideas warrant study. Most notably, socialism carries with it a certain set of values and, consequently, a corresponding pressure on legal institutions. The authors, guest editors of this special issue of the Russian Law Journal on the socialist legacies in the world constitutions, outline a general approach for the study of socialist constitutional legacies. The article therefore addresses (a) the methodology of socialist constitutional legacies analysis, (b) the core values of the socialist constitutions and (c) ways in which socialist constitutional ideas and concepts can be combined with the principles of constitutionalism. This analysis raises a number of important – but under-researched questions. One is the extent to which these socialist ideas or concepts are actually socialist. Another is the extent to which these ideas can be included in constitutional discourse.

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