The Model for Composition: Russian Federalism of the XX–XXIth Centuries in Search of Identity. Part 1

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Author: Andrey Medushevsky

DOI: 10.21128/1812-7126-2017-2-15-31


The evaluation of contemporary Russian federalism makes it clear that it stay too fare from being the sustainable phenomenon comparable to the full-fledged democratic models in terms of symmetry, structure, and functional efficiency. One of the main causes of that inconsistency presumably could be found in the permanent reproduction of birth marks of Soviet constructions which are still alive in the current constitutional regulation, legal politics and the practical implementation of federalist institutes. The main questions of this investigation are the following: which are the most typical traces of Russian federal system in comparative and a long-term perspective of Soviet and Post-Soviet regulation; how this system was created in the period of revolutionary turmoil and developed in the course of social and constitutional transformation under Communist dictatorship; which were targets of the founding-fathers and how their intentions transformed in the process of one-party regime consolidation, and finally, why this system survived after the collapse of Soviet Union in its important features. In order to find answers, the author analyses archival materials of all Russian Constitutional commissions and products of their work (Russian Constitutions of 1918, 1925, 1937, 1978 and 1993). In order to understand the Soviet federalism as the coherent system the article recovers the whole logic of relationships between ideological imperatives, nominal constitutional norms and the mechanism of decision-making process in such vital areas as Centre-periphery relations; criteria for building the hierarchy of subjects of federation; their reciprocal relations in the system of governance. The reconsideration of Soviet legitimacy is of crucial importance for the sustainable federalist reform in contemporary Russia.

About the author: Andrey Medushevsky – Doctor of Sciences (in Philosophy), Tenured Professor, National Research University – Higher School of Economics, Moscow, Russia.

Citation: Medushevsky A. (2017) Model’ dlya sborki: Rossiyskiy federalism XX – na­cha­la XXI veka v poiskakh identichnosti. Chast’ 1 [The Model for Composition: Russian Federalism of the XX–XXI-th Centuries in Search of Identity. Part 1]. Sravnitel’noe konstitutsionnoe obozrenie, no.2, pp.15–31. (In Russian).


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Medushevsky A. (ed.) (2013) Osnovy konstitutsionnogo stroya Rossii: dvad­tsat' let razvitiya [The fundamentals of constitutional settlement of Russia], Moscow: Institute for Law and Public Policy. (In Russian).