Policy Memos

Soviet Solutions to Post-Soviet Problems: Has Vladimir Putin Really Strengthened the Federal Center?

Policy Memo:


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Almost immediately after his May 2000 inauguration, President Putin moved swiftly to address the epidemic of regional resistance to central authority in the latter 1990s. Vowing to reestablish and reassert the strength of the Russian state, and the vertical chain of authority from center to periphery in particular, he launched a multi-front war on regional resistance to Moscow.

First, he established seven federal districts within his presidential administration, each encompassing approximately twelve subunits of the Russian Federation. This was not a redrawing of formal borders between provinces, but an administrative change in that each of the seven districts would be headed by an appointed representative charged with coordinating the tasks of the federal bureaucracy in particular, as well as attempting to check the overt flouting of central authority on the part of elected regional governors and republican presidents. This was a controversial move in that the reform attempted to place appointed presidential representatives higher in the political-administrative hierarchy than elected governors and presidents of regions. [...]

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