The referendum is one of the symbols of a modern democratic society, where power formally belongs to the people. This is an act of the direct will of the people on important issues in various fields. In fact, the leadership of the country directly addresses the citizens.
A referendum is a formal procedure, the procedure for which is regulated by constitutional and legislative acts, and its results are legally binding. However, despite this, the results of referendums are often ignored by state authorities.
There are the following types of referendums (depending on the basis for holding).
1. On the basis of scale, they are divided into national (that is, held throughout the country), regional (in the territory of one or several subjects) and local (conducted at the level of the local municipality).
2. By content, they are divided into constitutional (that is, on the adoption of a new Constitution or amendments to the old), legislative (adoption of draft new laws) and advisory (on issues of activity of the bodies of higher, regional or local government).
3. According to the degree of compulsory conduct: obligatory (the conduct of which is regulated by the Constitution of the country), or optional (held at the initiative of the ruling bodies or the people).
4. In order of importance: decisive (when the fate of a bill depends on the results of a popular vote), and advisory (in their essence, representing large-scale public opinion polls and having no legal force).
5. By time: pre-parliamentary (clarifies people's opinion on a particular issue before the adoption of the relevant law), post-parliamentary (after the adoption of the law) and extra-parliamentary (when the fate of a project is decided directly by popular vote).
A referendum is an event practiced since quite a long time. In ancient Rome such a concept as a plebiscite originated (that is, voting of plebeians on various issues). At first, the Senate, consisting of the patricians, ignored the results of the plebiscite, however, with the adoption of the relevant laws (in 5-4 centuries BC), this procedure received official state status and became synonymous with the word "law".
In recent history, the holding of national referendums is also not uncommon. On April 25, 1993, the first referendum of the Russian Federation was held, where issues relating to the procedure for electing the President and the Council of People's Deputies, as well as questions of the then social policy, were discussed. A little later (this very year) the Constitution of the new state was adopted by referendum. In the history of the USSR, there were no population polls as such; all questions were decided at the highest party level in a narrow circle of trusted representatives. The first and last Soviet referendum is an event held on March 17, 1991 ("On the issue of preserving the renewed union of friendly republics"), where "Z" was supported by more than half of the population, but despite this, the vast country disappeared from geographical maps.