The State University of the Ministry of Finance of the Russian Federation
Local Government in the Russian Federation
Author: Viktoria Faculty of Public Administration
Research supervisor: O.Kalugina
The “new history” of local government in Russia dates back to the beginning of the 1990s when the country embarked upon a new political and economic course leading to an open democratic society with an efficient market economy. However, even a cursory glance at the way local governments function in present-day Russia reveals their main deficiency: local government institutions are still very weak and their potential for social and economic development are extremely limited. This paper discusses some issues that seem to be relevant to the provision of local government in Russia. It addresses general as well as some region-specific questions. Background.
The Russian Federation consists of eighty-nine member regions called subjects of the Federation. For purposes of statistical reporting, these regions are grouped into twelve economic zones. However, these zones are likely to be replaced by the seven federal districts recently formed for purposes of political and administrative oversight Subjects of the Russian Federation include twenty-one republics, six krais, forty-nine oblasts, two federal cities, one autonomous oblast and ten autonomous districts. Despite the diversity of categories, all subjects of the Federation have equal status pursuant to the Constitution of the Russian Federation (1993). However, the Federative Treaty, an integral part of the Constitution, allows for bilateral agreements between the central government and member regions which grant regions special rights and obligations. As of October 2000, fifty-one regions had concluded forty-seven such agreements with the federal government, with the majority of the regions being republics. It should be noted that the classification of regions as republic, krai or oblast is derived from historical reasons and does not generally provide any indication of status. The federal government, recognizing the risks in continuing to develop asymmetric federalism, eventually revoked most privileges previously granted to individual regions. To signal a return to a policy of uniform federalism, the State Duma of the Russian Federation passed a law in 2000 mandating that all regions bring their legislation into conformity with the Constitution and with fede...