Russian Federalism Bad: Economy
Alexander Domrin, former Chief Specialist of the Foreign Relations Committee of the Russian Supreme Soviet, Moscow representative of the U.S. Congressional Research Service, 2006
(“Comparative Constitutional Law at Iowa: From Fragmentation to Balance: The Shifting Model of Federalism in Post-Soviet Russia” 15 Transnat'l L. & Contemp. Probs. 515)
The Russian Federation, in its present transitional form, is a country of stunning disparities, which makes the development of a normal and stable country extremely challenging. Gross Regional Product (GRP) of the most advanced Russian region (which is Moscow with 2.2179 quadrillion rubles) is 380 times larger than the least effective unit, which is the ethnic "republic" of Ingushetia with a GRP of 5.84 billion rubles. 186 In terms of GRP per capita, [*548] there is a thirty-four-fold gap between the Khanty-Mansi Autonomous Area (431,000 rubles) and Ingushetia (12,700 rubles). 187 In comparison, there is a narrower gap in GRP per capita between the richest (Hamburg, Germany) and the poorest (Epeirus, Greece) regions of Europe than in Russia. 188 Whereas in the United States, the so-called "variation coefficient," the coefficient of the deviation of GRP per capita in the states from the average for the whole country, is no larger than 0.15, in Russia it reaches 0.61. 189
The disparity of economic potential between Russia's subjects results in a gap in living standards. The average income of a Moscow resident (14,000 rubles a month) is nearly double the average for the rest of the country (7,120 rubles). 190 The ratio between the average income and the so-called "minimum of sustainable existence" of a Moscow dweller is 5.73; whereas in the Aga Buryat Autonomous Area it is just 0.38. 191 It is hard to disagree with Philip Hanson, the British scholar and Professor of Political Economy at the University of Birmingham, when he concludes that "in the 1990s, subnational state power proved to be the main obstacle for economic reconstruction" in Russia, and that as an economist he finds the "chaotic compromises of Yeltsin with regional leaders ... [were] disastrous for the economy." 192 Thus, these economic statistics appear to support Hanson and others' assertions about the negative economic effects of Yeltsin's model of fragmented federalism.
Russian Federalism Bad: Separatism
Russian territorial federalism leads to separatism
Alexander Dugin, political scientist, February 2006
(“RUSSIA'S FUTURE: A UNITARY STATE OR AN ETHNO-FEDERATION?” Translated by Denis Shcherbakov Rossiia, No. 4, February 2006) Lexis
In the present situation, regions and territories in the composition of the Russian Federation are a threat of separatism indeed. The sense of the European federalism is not in the unitary structure, but in transaction from the present model, when an oblast is a subject of the federation etc. In this connection, the appointing of governors, of course, belittles the territorial principle of the Russian Federation and could be treated, on the one hand, as a step towards the unitary state; on the other hand - from the viewpoint of ethno-federalism - it is not so bad since in this case we prevent a possible threat of separatism.
Since, as the President has said, introducing the appointment of the governors, there is a war against Russia, under such conditions we cannot let that degree of autonomy and independency of regions from the Federal center which exists today. But the next step is to be made - taking a part of authorities to the center, Russia must send some authorities to the regions. The principle of the Eurasian Federalism would be a perfect addition to this strategic centralism, since the ethno-federalism does not disclaims the strategic centralism but assembles it with a political right of an ethnos, an ethnic group. The moving towards the unitary state would blast Russia the same way as the further development of territorial federalism would do.
Gazeta, July 25, 2005
(“The Dead Ends Of State Administration Logic” Andrei Ryabov What the Papers Say. Part B, Translated by Alexander Dubovoi) Lexis
However, this is not all. The North Caucasus regions will rank in the category of financially insolvent regions. The Kremlin faced a very difficult problem in the majority of these regions. On the one hand, local leaders, who have become loyal executors of Moscow's will, are losing control over the situation. As a result, the Islamic radicals are taking over the initiative. On the other hand, it's risky to replace them with people whom the population trusts. Director federal government would be a very convenient solution in such situation. Officially, the new approach is explained as follows: the republican authorities cannot ensure the proper use of fund allocated to the regions. As a result, economic problems in the region aggravate, the unemployment rate goes up, and extremism gathers strength. Emissaries from Moscow are supposed to prevent this.Such prospects look smooth only on paper. It's not at all certain that local residents would be enthusiastic about a transition to direct federal rule. It's not ruled out that the regional elite might become angry. In addition, federal rule would mean the failure of federal economic policy, which is forced to use special regimes in the regions despite substantial oil revenues. It's possible that such policy will increase the number of such regions.It should be noted that similar experiments conducted at the end of the Soviet era failed. The attempt to create the special committee for controlling Nagorno-Karabakh is a graphic example.The Kremlin's officials may be tempted to abolish federalism in favor of the unitary model. However, this would strengthen separatism and weaken Russia's territorial integrity where regional and ethnic differences are very strong. In other words, if the government is concerned about lack of oversight and high corruption in Russia, it should seek economic and political solutions which would make the economy transparent and free from bureaucratic pressure, and political institutions accountable to ordinary citizens. Administrative solutions will not work in such circumstances.