REFERENDUM IN RUSSIA: PROBLEMS OF DEFINING AND IMPROVING EFFICIENCY
The study of the legal nature of the referendum as an institution of direct democracy is of considerable interest due to the socio-political severity of the consequences of its use. Decisions taken following national referendums in different countries of the world in recent years have repeatedly led to changes in inter-state relations, civil conflicts and economic crises, and changes in the state affiliation of a territory. However, the government ignored some results of referendums, which raised a question about the legitimacy of the decisions adopted or rejected according to their results. The basic idea of the paper is to consider the essence and objectives of the referendum as a nationwide authorization and legitimization of the adoption or rejection of any important and generally significant political solution, thereby complementing the mechanisms of representative democracy. The study identified that in the Russian Federation, referendums took place, which formally could not be considered as such in terms of the current special legislation. The author analyzed the problem of compliance with the content of the concepts of the popular vote, referendum, and plebiscite. The analysis of the practice of organizing referendums in the Russian Federation allowed highlighting such forms of the referendum as a referendum on the nationality of a territory, a constitutional referendum, and a local referendum. A separate issue is the consideration of the nature of voting on the amendment to the Constitution of the Russian Federation of 2020, the determination of the essence and significance of such voting based on the general principles of organizing referendums in the world. The author considers the referendum as an institution that best embodies the basic ideas of democratic political order and that allows both to determine the opinion of the majority of the population on any issue and to authorize the adoption by the authorities of decisions affecting the rights and freedoms of the population concerned. The author concluded that, to the greatest extent, the institution of the referendum is now embodied at the level of local self-government; however, the development of modern technologies and the continuing digitalization can lead to greater applicability of this institution at the nationwide level.