Policy Memos

Broken Pendulum: Recentralization Under Putin

Policy Memo:


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The development of center-region relations in Russia since 1990 is analogous to the oscillations of a pendulum, reflecting the changing balance between the alternative processes of decentralization and centralization. These oscillations used to be uneven with rather long periods of decentralization (1990-August 1991, 1992-93, 1994-96, 1997- 98), opposite short but energetic bursts of centralization. Given momentum by upcoming elections, in 1999 the centralization-decentralization pendulum swung dangerously toward decentralization, exceeding the limits of usual oscillations, and perhaps threatening the pendulum itself. This did not happen; instead, the pendulum changed direction, passing and then exceeding the former extreme of centralization. [...]

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About the author

Professor, Department of Comparative Politics
Higher School of Economics, Moscow