The Project executed 2001-2003 by group of the Kazan Institute of Federalism with the financial support of the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation.
STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
Initiatives of Vladimir Putin, the President of the Russian Federation, on the reformation of the state system - with the prevailing unitary principles - put the country into conditions where the question on the perspectives of federalism in Russia became unclear again.
Some time ago unwillingness of the leadership of the USSR to accomplish reasonable decentralization of the state government led to the collapse of the Union.
The present leadership seems to repeat old mistakes. A number of the Republics do not want to refuse from the state sovereignty, fixed in their Constitutions and from the powers they received as a result of signing a Treaty with the Federal Center. Those Republics that managed to effectively use their independence, having proved in reality that powers taken by them are not only rights but also great responsibilities and duties – especially insist on it. So, after a decade of the reforms – as well as before them – any scenario of the Russian State development can not be excluded: 1) turning into confederation which will be followed by the collapse of the country; 2) de-facto return to the unitary state; 3) continuing the process of federalization. Since there are special reasons and political forces for each of these scenarios, evaluation of the probability of all three scenarios is necessary. Of course, these scenarios are not equally probable. In spite of the processes indicated above the Center emphasizes its being adherent to the federative way of Russia’s development. But federative way in itself is not unambiguously determined.
Russia has peculiarities that do not allow to draw direct analogies with any other federation of the world. Neither American nor Swiss or German scheme can be transferred into the Russian environment. Historical and political traditions of the country demand searching for its own way of the optimal state system. The nature of Russia and its peculiarities having influence on the formation of the model of federalism are linked first of all with its multi-ethnicity, vast territories, economic, climatic and geographic diversity of the regions. This is why studying perspectives of federalism in Russia one should take into consideration, first of all, experience of Russian federalism, no matter how little it is – since it lies in the sphere of practical as opposed to theoretical knowledge. On the other hand, there are common problems for all federative states i.e. distribution of taxes between different levels of power, formation of legal system and competent authoritative bodies, international activities of the subjects of the federation, ways and forms of representing regions’ interests on the federal level, realization of the principle of subsidiarity , mechanisms of protection of ethnic minorities, etc. International experience has different ways of solving these invariant problems of federalism. Unfortunately, the majority of politicians of Russia do not use this experience.
GOALS AND TASKS OF THE PROJECT
The goal of the present project is to forecast the most possible scenarios of the federative relations development in Russia in conditions of new distribution of political forces, and to deliver this information to the politicians and structures which can influence decision making processes or can make decisions themselves in the sphere of state building of the RF.
The tasks necessary to be solved to achieve this goal:
1) To bring to light acute problems of the development of federalism in Russia. It is obvious, that in relations between the Center and the Federation subjects there exist specifically Russian problems as well as those that are having analogies international practice.
2) On the basis of comparative analysis of both Russian and international experience to show how in different federative states indicated above problems are most successfully solved, and to offer possible ways of overcoming collisions which take place in relations between the Center and the regions of Russia, taking into account the most successful international and Russian experience.
Methods of achieving the goals and solving the tasks: