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 Free & fair elections;
o Clear mandates;
o Budget to provide services;
o Legislative & executive bodies to make choices;
o Administrative structure to deliver services.
Zemstvo (1864 rural local elected assemblies);
Duma (1870 local city governments).
o Created & controlled from above;
o Dominance of conservative local nobility in elections;
Local governments (soviets)
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;
Remove central state & party control;
o Unilaterally dissolves local soviets;
o Gives regional governments power over local governments;
o Recognition of distinction between ‘organs of state power’ &
o Democratic & participatory elements of self-government;
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