Russian - Spanish constitutional parallels
On December 13, the Russian-Spanish Conference, The Spanish Constitution of 1978: Lessons from History and Prospects for Development (La constitución española de 1978: lecciones históricas y perspectivas de desarrollo) was held at the Presidential Academy, attended by Spanish Ambassador Fernando Valderrama.
“We are very pleased to welcome you to the Academy, where we highly value relations with our Spanish colleagues,” RANEPA Rector Vladimir Mau said in his opening remarks, adding that cooperation with Spain had begun during the service of the previous Ambassador, José Ignacio Carbahal Garate (2012-2017). Spanish universities are longtime partners of the Presidential Academy.
In 2018, both Russia and Spain mark anniversaries of their constitutions, Vladimir Mau noted. Both events have sparked interesting public discussions. “An anniversary is always a reason to look back at the distance traveled. Now it is time to assess how effective the current constitution is, and to discuss further development of the constitutional process. The Russian Constitution is flexible and reflects the problems and goals of society. This conference is devoted to the Spanish Constitution. We are very interested in effective contacts with Spain and South American countries,” he said.
Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Kingdom of Spain to the Russian Federation, H.E. Fernando Valderrama, thanked the participants for their interest, and the organizers for their attention to the anniversary of the Spanish Constitution. “It is very pleasant to see such attention to our constitution. The level of participants shows how important this conference is,” Mr. Valderrama said adding that it is an honor for him to be the ambassador of Spain to Russia: “Your country is very important for us.”
Igor Ivanov, President of the Russian Council on Foreign Affairs, former Foreign Minister (1998-2004) and Russian Ambassador to Spain (1992-1995), shared personal memories of the events that preceded the adoption of Russia’s current constitution, noting that similar processes took place in both countries at different times. “The political parties in Spain showed excellent foresight by supporting the monarchy. The king then successfully thwarted the coup attempt and ensured that the reforms were irreversible, strengthening his status as the head of state. The Spanish Constitution has stood the test of time,” the speaker said.
The conference participants watched a documentary prepared by the Spanish Ministry of Foreign Affairs on the Spanish Constitution of 1978. The Constitution was a necessary condition for accession to the European Union and helped the country fully integrate into the EU. The Spanish economy has grown significantly over the past 40 years; its healthcare, education, and social security system have greatly developed.
Doctor of Political Science and Sociology Manuel Villoria, Professor of Political Science and Public law at Universidad Rey Juan Carlos in Madrid, spoke during the session on the political aspects of the 1978 constitution. In his opinion, the constitution marked the beginning of important changes in the country. “More than 90% of lawmakers voted for the constitution, which finally ended the Spanish Civil War and established the rule of law,” the expert said. He called the Spanish constitution one of the most advanced in the world in upholding human rights and the rule of law in general.
Other speakers at the session included MGIMO University Professor Alexander Orlov, Master of International Law, member of the Expert Council of the Russian Government’s Analytical Center, and Olga Pirozhenko, Director of RANEPA IPACS Russian-Spanish Center.
Special attention at the conference was paid to the historical and legal aspects of the 1978 constitution. The invited experts included Doctor of Law Carlos Miguel Revenga Sánchez, Professor of Constitutional Law at University of Cadiz; Doctor of Law Isabel Jiménez Ferrer, Lecturer at the Autonomous University of Madrid, expert in constitutional law; and Russian specialists.
Doctor of Law Igor Bartsits, RANEPA Professor, Director of RANEPA Institute of Public Administration and Civil Service, made a presentation and moderated the conference.
The event was held as part of the RANEPA IPACS Constitutional Week, which took place at the Academy from December 4 to 14 and featured a presentation by Sergei Shakhrai, a Russian statesman and one of the authors of the current Russian Constitution. Another Constitutional Week highlight was the conference entitled Constitution of 1993: Russia’s Challenge and the Vision of the Future, organized by RANEPA and the Association of Lawyers of Russia and dedicated to the 25th anniversary of the Russian Constitution.
Guests of the Russian-Spanish conference:
- Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United Mexican States in Moscow Norma Bertha Pensado Moreno /Embajadora Extraordinaria y Plenipotenciaria de los Estados Unidos Mexicanos en Moscú Dña. Norma Bertha Pensado Moreno
- Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Colombia to Moscow Alfonso López Caballero /Embajador Extraordinario y Plenipotenciario de Colombia en Moscú D.Alfonso López Caballero
- Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Uruguay to Moscow Enrique Delgado /Embajador Extraordinario y Plenipotenciario de Uruguay en Moscú, D.Enrique Delgado
- 3rd Secretary of the Embassy of Panama in Moscow David Castro /3-er secretario de la Embajada de Panamá D.David Castro.
- Minister-Counselor of the Embassy of Spain in Moscow Ignacio García-Valdecasas /Ministro-Consejero de la Embajada de España en Moscú D.Ignacio García-Valdecasas
- Political Counselor of the Embassy of Spain in Moscow Mikel Iriso /Consejero Político de la Embajada de España en Moscú D.Mikel Iriso
- Head of Communication Department of the Spanish Embassy in Moscow, María Llinares /Jefa de la Oficina de Comunicación de la Embajada de España en Moscú Dña.María Llinares
- Counselor for Culture of the Embassy of Spain in Moscow Álvaro de la Riva /Consejero de Cultura de la Embajada de España en Moscú D. Álvaro de la Riva
- Advisor of the Education Department of the Spanish Embassy in Moscow Javier Torres Hernández /Asesor Técnico de Educación de la Embajada de España en Moscú D.Javier Torres Hernández
- Representative of the Agency EFE in Moscow Celine Aemisegger /Delegada de la Agencia EFE en Moscú, Dña.Celine Aemisegger