The political and security implications of regionalism in Russia : the rise of regional Tsars?
Hartmann, Allison M.
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This thesis examines the political and security impacts of the devolution of power to Russia's regions since 1993. By reviewing the basis of Russia's federal structure the author identifies how the nature of the structure and the manner in which it evolved have led to the emergence of local tsars who have few horizontal or vertical checks on their power. The thesis analyzes the impact that strong regional leaders have had within their regions, to include their impact on free and fair elections, free press, individual's rights, and rule of law. The author finds that the lack of checks on the regional leader's abuses of power within the regions destabilizes the country by only further encouraging them to expand their power into realms intended to be under the control of the federal government, to include the military and foreign policy. The resultant injection of regional leadership into these matters threatens the security of Russia by inhibiting the ability of the central government to field a cohesive military force and pursue cogent foreign policy. The thesis further examines the prospects for regional tsars in light of recent efforts to rein in the regions. The author determines that these reforms, though resulting in a degree of centralization, also target some of the key problems in Russia's federation, to include the dearth of checks on regional power and the contradictions in the legal framework guiding center-periphery relations. However, further reforms targeting Russia's antiquated federal structure and enforcement mechanisms are recommended.
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