By Graeme Gill (eds.)
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Extra resources for Politics in the Russian Regions
Actors would prefer acting outside the institutional framework because compliance would not pay off while non-compliance would not be sanctioned. The indecision of the Constitution over key principles left space for federal bargaining and flexibility, but due to the ill-defined margins, the constitutional order opened room for transgressing these boundaries as well. 7 Russia’s post-Soviet constitutional order and federal practice had institutionalized a combination of five contradictory principles: constitutional and contractual federalism; presidential power concentration and federal power division; ethno-federal and territorial federalism; symmetry and asymmetry; and executive as well as legislative federalism.
On the other hand, central governments frequently react to politicized heterogeneity or regionalist movements with tough centralization measures, direct rule, military governments, or emergency tactics, undermining thus the federal idea of “shared rule and divided rule”. To put it crudely, federalism is commonly seen as causing too much diversity or too much unity, too much regionalism or inviting counter-centralism, thus being in a constant conflict of centrifugal and centripetal forces. The ascribed incentives are contradictory, at least far from unanimous.
Federations generally tend to overrepresent territorial units or ethnic groups on the federal level and thus contradict the democratic principle of “one man one vote”. Regional autonomy may protect non-democratic regimes too, although federal democracy may cascade downwards as well. Federalism is probably a far too multi-faceted regime to attribute to it common effects. Empirically, there are more authoritarian regimes among the republics and autonomous okrugs than among the purely territorial regions of the Russian Federation.
Politics in the Russian Regions by Graeme Gill (eds.)