The concept of “the People”, being interdisciplinary, is applied in various sciences, each of which highlights its specific content and denotation. In sociology this term designates a community united by a single territory of a state, as well as by firm economic, social, and spiritual connections and relations. In ethnography the people are considered to be an ethnic community united by a common language, origin, specific culture, particular way of life, traditions and customs, national consciousness, a common self-chosen name, and self-identification. Such a concept has an explicit and definite correlation with empirical reality – with real people who, interacting with each other, enter into concrete social relations. In the constitutional legal conceptual space, whose “inhabitants” are abstract legal constructions, legal phantoms and fictions, the people act as the bearer of sovereignty and the source of power. However, in the scientific comprehension of this ideally typical constitutional model, the empirical notion of the people as a community is often used, which does not allow one to adequately reveal the regularities underlying Russian statehood, and leads to the emergence of a contradiction forming a methodological problem, the study of which this article is devoted to. To solve it, a conceptual approach is proposed that regards the people as the unity of two opposites: abstract people – a juridical personality, or a legal creature that acts as the source of power – and concrete people – a community, or an aggregate of Russian citizens. This binary opposition, in its philosophical and legal interpretation, is examined in the categories of proper and existing: the abstract people, presented in only the constitutional legal conceptual space, being the bearer of sovereignty and the only source of power, is the constitutional ideal (the proper arrangement of the Russian state), which manifests itself in factual reality in the form of an aggregate of concrete citizens forming a concrete people (existing), and the contradiction between them (the contradiction between proper and existing) as the initial and basic contradiction of Russian statehood, which receives its specific expression in various publicly-authoritative relations.
About the author
Victor Cherepanov – Doctor of Sciences in Law, Professor, Stavropol State Agrarian University, Stavropol’, Russia.
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