The Tortuous Path of Local Government Reform in the Russian Federation

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    This is an account of the evolution of Russian local government since the emergence of the Russian Federation as a sovereign state in 1991. The three major reforms of local government, in 1991, 1995 and 2003, are discussed in detail, showing how the notion of local autonomy and local government competences received recognition in the law of 1991, and how the principle of separation of local government from the administration of the state was enshrined in the Constitution of 1993, even as the representative bodies in local government were cut back. It goes on to describe the 1995 local government reform, which sought to provide an institutional basis for that constitutional principle, but how this foundered in practice due to pressure from regional authorities hostile to local autonomy, and how electoral considerations strengthened these demands. The reform of 2003 is analysed, showing its limitations and dangers from the point and the influence of the electoral cycle in strengthening the hand of regional opponents of local autonomy.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)639-658
    Number of pages20
    JournalLocal Government Studies
    Issue number5
    Publication statusPublished - 2006


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