Today Russia celebrates the Constitution Day. Recently, it was a public holiday on December 12th. But four years ago, the State Duma revised the days of public holidays. Now the Constitution Day is a normal working day.
The main document of the country was adopted in a referendum on December 12th, 1993. The current constitution has been permanent for 15 years, but now regional deputies all over the country are considering amendments proposed by the president. The parliamentarians of St. Petersburg have expressed their pros this week.
Working day: from 8 am till midnight, no days off. Break: only for lunch, half an hour only. Back to writing again. No doubt, the best calligrapher of St. Petersburg, Pyotr Chobitko has almost learnt the Constitution of the Russian Federation by heart for 5 months of constructive solitary.
Pyotr Chobitko, calligrapher artist:
“Every day you have to go like to Mount Everest, you know. Up, up to the top.”
Before you get down to work, you have to exercise your hands. A calligrapher is like a surgeon. If you make a mistake with one letter, you will have to rewrite the whole page. A special ink made of cuttlefish is used. A litre costs $ 2000. Leonardo da Vinci wrote his diaries with this ink. Initially Chobitko was still trying to keep historical technology: to write with quill pens.
Pyotr Chobitko, calligrapher artist:
“Then I realized they are becoming blunt too fast and I do not have that many quill pens.” Chobitko calls this constitution a cardiogram of soul. “Good mood: the letters are neat, bad mood:they are massive. Two things: peace and music, especially Mozart, help to concentrate and forget about everything else.”
While the calligrapher is writing, publishers are making the cover design. The tables of the covenant example: white calfskin, coat of arms in gilt silver and plate. There is no title on the cover. Wealth is in modesty.
Pyotr Suspitsyn, Director of Rare Book from St. Petersburg Publishing House:
“Any inscription is like a menu or a folder for notes. We would like it to be clear to anyone that this is the constitution, so it would be a special example of the constitution.”
There are 63 pages of the handwritten copy of the Constitution of the Russian Federation cut by hand. About 10 pages in a day. No modern machines are used, only a rare publishing knife from Germany.
The first handwritten copy of the Constitution is ready; and the second one. Each one is an exclusive. Although they are small, but there are differences. For example, the first text is made in accordance with the current version of the law, the second one: with the amendments that are now being discussed. There are also differences in the design.
Andrey Kulikov, bookbinder of Rare Book from St. Petersburg Publishing House:
“The first copy has silver-edged pages; the second one is edged with gold. As long as I do not have a ready example, I can base an example on the old French book.”
The two copies of the constitution are unlikely to ever meet together. One of them is already in the museum, while the other will be passed to the president himself, in his library. Perhaps the next head of state will take the oath, putting his hand on this copy of the constitution.
The current Constitution of the Russian Federation is a baby compared to other constitutions in the world. For example, the oldest current Constitution of Europe, the Constitution of Norway, was adopted nearly two centuries ago, in 1814. The Constitution of the Netherlands is only one year younger. These are the customary constitutions in the form of a book, which contains a set of rules. The Constitution of the United Kingdom is a special case. There is no documented version of it in general. There is even a special term for it: an unwritten constitution. This constitution is a collection of legal acts, court decisions and other legal documents. Many of them were written in the Middle Ages. The Constitution of the United States of America is one of the oldest constitutions, adopted in 1788. It is one of the shortest constitutions. It has only 7 articles and 27 amendments which are not included in the main text. The text of the main law of the United States contains quite a large number of rules that have become out of date and look strange. For example, the constitution prohibits to quarter soldiers in time of peace without the agreement from a house owner. The Constitution of the Russian Federation celebrates the 90th anniversary this year. If we consider the whole history of fundamental law of our country, then this year is its 90th anniversary. The first code of fundamental laws was adopted in 1918 at the Fifth All-Russian Congress of Soviets.
Source: 100TV ChannelBack to list