Government Structures in the U.S.A. and the Sovereign States of the Former U.S.S.R: Power Allocation among Central, Regional, and Local Governments

By James E. Hickey Jr.; Alexej Ugrinsky | Go to book overview
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Protection and Promotion of Human Rights: Power Allocation Among Central, Regional, and Local Governments in the Russian Federation

Boris A. Tsepov

Alexander Hamilton affirmed in 1775 that the sacred rights of mankind were written as with a sunbeam in the whole volume of human nature and could never be erased or obscured by mortal power. This philosophical maxim presents the very essence of democracy and of a democratic state. It denies the superiority of any power over human rights and proclaims the absolute character of human rights. On the other hand, that denial itself confirms the inevitability of attempts of power to limit human rights in any way available.

An organization in all its forms, including a state as an organization of human society, is always based on certain limitations of the rights of its elements or, in case of a state organization, its subjects. The core of the problem is the level, scope, and volume of such limitations. Any state, which pretends to be a democracy, should provide the lowest possible level of limitations of the rights of its subjects to keep a delicate but sustainable balance of interests of those who govern and who are governed.

Accepting that all human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights without distinction and discrimination of any kind, a democratic state assumes the responsibility for their effective exercise. To this end a democratic state establishes corresponding legal mechanisms and procedures. The effectiveness of those mechanisms and procedures seems to be a matter of crucial importance for democracy because of numerous collisions of interests that frequently accompany man-to-power and citizen-to-state relations, which, at least theoretically, should be maintained on the basis of mutually acceptable compromises. It seems very important that citizens, seeking in their turn the limitation of state powers, would not deprive a state of its essential prerogatives that enable it to act as a governing authority.

One of the most important means to provide a balance of interests is the

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