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Political Science

LOCAL POLITICS IN THE RUSSIAN FEDERATION Criteria for Democratization  School of democracy & training ground for high level politicians;  Close to population;  Provide public goods that reflect local preferences;  Ensure higher levels of government express plurality of local views;  Local governments must have: o Autonomy; o Free & fair elections; o Clear mandates; o Budget to provide services; o Legislative & executive bodies to make choices; o Administrative structure to deliver services. Legacy: Russian Empire  Zemstvo (1864 rural local elected assemblies);  Duma (1870 local city governments).  Limits: o Created & controlled from above; o Dominance of conservative local nobility in elections; Soviet Union  Local governments (soviets)  Limits: o unity of state (vertical hierarchy); o dual subordination (party); o absence of real elections; o limited decision-making power; o budgets externally controlled. Transition Gorbachev: (July 1991 Law)  Free & competitive elections;  Political parties;  Remove central state & party control;  Mandates defined. Eltsin:  1993 Decrees: o Unilaterally dissolves local soviets; o Gives regional governments power over local governments;  1993 Constitution: o Recognition of distinction between ‘organs of state power’ & ‘local self-government’; o Democratic & participatory elements of self-government; o Autonomy; o Guarantees of funding for delegated mandates.  1995 Law on Local Self-Government: o Autonomous & separate from ‘state structure’; o Powers defined.  Practice under Eltsin: o Recentralization & reincorporation into the ‘state system’, largely as a result of powerful regional governors exerting pressures & the financial dependence of local governments on regional governments. o Major variations in structures, functions, and powers of local governments. Law not implemented in 18 regions & only
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