The Russian state is highly fragmented, lacking a unified legal or economic space. Nevertheless, fragmentation need not signal disintegration–officials of Russia's central government have proven resourceful at using the leverage of scarce resources to keep Russia intact.
This memo examines the mechanisms of central control over Russia's regions. It has three primary goals, addressed in three separate sections:
1. It briefly reviews the history of center-periphery relations from the perspective of central government strategy;
2. It examines how the center's strategy toward the regions shifted after the financial crisis and collapse of 1998, and how that policy is likely to develop between now and the scheduled presidential elections in 2000; and
3. It considers the implications for US policy of this new phase in Russian federal relations. […]