[JURIST] The Russian State Duma [official website] approved a draft law Wednesday that would permanently move the Constitutional Court of the Russian Federation [RIN backgrounder] from its current location in Moscow to the city of St. Petersburg, the former Russian imperial capital. The Constitutional Court will nonetheless maintain a Moscow office "to ensure cooperation with the federal authorities," a provision which is seen as allowing some perhaps-recalcitrant judges [Kommersant backgrounder] to continue working from a Moscow base.
Russian President Vladimir Putin [official profile] supports moving the court, and he will set a future date for the beginning of court operations in the northern city, expected to be sometime in 2007 or 2008. The move is seen as a boost to the status of Russia's second largest city, which is also Putin's home town. Quick approval of the measure by the Russian upper house, the Federation Council, is anticipated. Itar-Tass has more.