Russia is a federation which, as of March 1, 2008, consists of 83 federal subjects(members of the Federation). One of the extremely important theoretical and practical issues during the process of political transition in Russia’s modern history is the establishment and development of Russian federalism. The results of economic, social and political reform in the Russian society largely depend on the smooth development of federalism. In fact, the whole fate of Russia also depends on the development of Russian federalism. Therefore, this paper attempts to clarify two crucial problems, firstly, in Yeltsin’s Regime, the sovereignty of federal subjects was over- expanded, while Putin can withdraw these powers from the federal subjects without serious struggles and conflicts. Secondly, what are the decisive factors for centralization? And how can the decisive factors affect the stage of power struggles between the central government and the federal subjects?
Thus, this paper tries to handle two main issues. One is to conduct a theoretical model of Russian federalism with the concepts of marginal cost- benefit. The other is to discuss the applicability of this constructed model on the Russian federal system. By observing the whole process of the Russian federal system from this model, this paper finds that the economic development and the legitimacy of the federal government will directly affect the will and strategy of the federal subjects against the federal government for demanding the practical action of decentralization. Relatively, the federal government will reinforce the control of the legislation of centralization and downsize the power of federal subjects, in accompanying with the rapid economic growth and the promotion of the legitimacy of the federal government. This is perfectly workable in Putin’s Regime. With the promising economic performance, the federal government enhanced the operation of legitimacy that is consequently helpful to hold the control of the whole federation.
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