Federalism and Defederalisation in Russia

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The federalisation of Russia has been thwarted by the weakness of Russia’s civic culture and the lack of a federal and democratic tradition. Throughout its short history, federal relations in Russia have been dominated by informal political and economic relations rather than constitutionalism and the rule of law. By the time of Boris Yeltsin’s resignation in 1999, the Russian state had been transformed from a “constitutional” to a “contractual” federation where informal politics and clientelistic relations dominated legal and constitutional relations. Since Vladimir Putin came to power in 2000, the principles of federalism have been seriously undermined. Relations between the federal government and the regions are not based on the classic federal principles of “self-rule and shared rule.” Federal principles of non-centralisation and regional autonomy are rapidly being replaced by centralised commands and subordination and subservience. In reality, Russia is a quasi-unitary state in federal clothing.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Routledge Handbook of Russian Politics and Society
EditorsGraeme Gill
Place of PublicationAbingdon, Oxon
Number of pages11
ISBN (Print)9781032110523
Publication statusPublished - 2023


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