State of Emergency and High Alert: New Powers of the Government

06 May 2020

The laws that give the President of Russia the powers to declare the state of emergency during pandemic, and the Government – the powers to declare quarantine, have been in place for many years. Despite this fact, a new law has come into force recently that enables the Government to declare the state of high alert and emergency. The experts from, including Dmitry Lobachev, head of projects with Khrenov&Partners, commented the situation.

 "The new law is definitely aimed at expansion of the Government powers in order to respond promptly to different emergency challenges of modern reality, including the coronavirus pandemic. The law directly categorizes the spread of a hazardous disease as an emergency. However, according to the article on insolvency moratorium for businesses under the new law, even changes of rouble exchange rate may be viewed as grounds for it”, Dmitry Lobachev says. “First of all, the new law declares the leading role of the government in emergency situations making it the central body that takes decisions and coordinates all actions. This helps to shift the decision-making process for some issues to more operative level”.

 Dmirty Lobachev believes that the main problem with the New law No 98-FZ is the lack of criteria that limit the Government powers. In fact, the process of governing and making decisions during the state of high alert or in emergency is fully vested with executive bodies. For instance, there are no criteria on diseases when declaring the high alert or emergency regimes. Also, neither concrete rights that the Government may restrict nor measures for their restriction are specified. “A serious question may arise: how legitimate is this transit of powers without any specification? Article 55 of the current Constitution only provides for restrictions of rights by a federal law only to the necessary extent”, Mr Lobachev reminds.

The full article may be viewed here (in Russian).

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