Policy Memos

New Challenges to Russian Federalism

Policy Memo:


Publication Date:




The alleged success of former president (and current prime minister) Vladimir Putin in recentralizing the Russian Federation requires critical appraisal. A number of limitations to the reunification project, as Putin initially conceived it almost a decade ago, are emerging. A growing number of Russian and international scholars assert that center–regional relations did not change all that much during Putin’s presidency and that the mono-polar system of power within most regions remains intact, which not only impedes democratic accountability in the federation but also makes the federal center’s supervision over regional elites problematic. Publicly, those elites express almost ritual loyalty to the Kremlin, yet informal room for bargaining between Moscow and the provinces still exists, as does financial asymmetry within the federation, just as in the 1990s. [...]

More (PDF)

About the author

Visiting Professor, Johan Skytte Institute of Political Studies
University of Tartu, Estonia