In Search of the Fourth Rome: Visions of a New Russian Capital City
Over the last twenty years Russia has experienced significant fluctuations in sentiments regarding the prospects and urgency of relocating the Russian capital city. In this article, Vadim Rossman examines the public debates on this topic, which have involved important Russian politicians, intellectuals, and members of various expert communities. In these debates, one can recognize several distinct new visions of society that emerged in the post-Soviet period. This article provides an overview and a critique of these debates and suggests that they should be viewed in the context of nation building, the slow emergence of the nation that was historically suppressed under the weight of the imperial ambitions of Russian statehood. In the background of these debates, the concept of self-identity looms large. National capitals can serve as catalysts for nation building and an instrument of the nation as it constitutes and constructs itself.
This article describes the results of sociological research on estimation of condition and development prospects of federalism in Russia, which was conducted by ZIRCON Research Group in January - May 2011. The opinion of population and elite groups of four regions about the foundations of Russian federalism development, administrative-territorial system of the Russian Federation and its principles, relations between subjects-regions and federative centre is presented. The results of the research indicate that at the moment a request for political and administrative autonomy of the subjects of the Federation is not obviously formulated by either citizens or regional elite groups. Regional identity is not a common phenomenon. The authors mark out necessary factors of federalism development: expansion of economic self-dependence of regions, existence of ethno-national or regional identity of citizens, democratization and decentralization.
Intergovernmental Reforms in the Russian Federation: One Step Forward, Two Steps Back? is a critical analysis of Russia’s intergovernmental reform program which began in the early 1990s. It assesses the effects of a broad range of reforms adopted over two tumultuous decades during which the Russian Federation experienced significant, and at times drastic, political regime changes, coupled with a similarly turbulent economic growth trajectory. This environment reshaped intergovernmental relations, requiring certain fiscal responsibilities to be delegated to the subnational levels. These reforms, however, were not always accompanied by the kinds of administrative and political structures required to support a truly devolved system of intergovernmental fiscal relations. As this study indicates, in recent years there has been a tendency to recentralize some powers that had been granted to subnational governments under earlier reforms—a trend that may call into question the future of fiscal decentralization in the federation. Moreover, the current global economic downturn has had a significant effect on Russia’ economic growth, largely because of the country’s overdependence on oil, gas, and mineral exports. It is likely that in the present economic climate the political regime will be inclined to further limit subnational autonomy.
The deepening rift between the system's potential and the challenges of rapidly changing socio-economic conditions make the transformation of Russia's state apparatus a matter of the nearest future; while, barring a radical overhaul, its preservation until 2025 is virtually impossible. Two major trends and resulting changes in administrative organization will determine Russia's political development processes in the coming years: reformatting relations between the authorities and society and reconfiguring arrangements between the federal center and regions. The center-regions relations dynamics is analyzed in terms of long pendulum oscillations with pendulum moving now from the model of 'federation of corporations' to the model of 'federation of regions'.
The results of cross-cultural research of implicit theories of innovativeness among students and teachers, representatives of three ethnocultural groups: Russians, the people of the North Caucasus (Chechens and Ingushs) and Tuvinians (N=804) are presented. Intergroup differences in implicit theories of innovativeness are revealed: the ‘individual’ theories of innovativeness prevail among Russians and among the students, the ‘social’ theories of innovativeness are more expressed among respondents from the North Caucasus, Tuva and among the teachers. Using the structural equations modeling the universal model of values impact on implicit theories of innovativeness and attitudes towards innovations is constructed. Values of the Openness to changes and individual theories of innovativeness promote the positive relation to innovations. Results of research have shown that implicit theories of innovativeness differ in different cultures, and values make different impact on the attitudes towards innovations and innovative experience in different cultures.
We address the external effects on public sector efficiency measures acquired using Data Envelopment Analysis. We use the health care system in Russian regions in 2011 to evaluate modern approaches to accounting for external effects. We propose a promising method of correcting DEA efficiency measures. Despite the multiple advantages DEA offers, the usage of this approach carries with it a number of methodological difficulties. Accounting for multiple factors of efficiency calls for more complex methods, among which the most promising are DMU clustering and calculating local production possibility frontiers. Using regression models for estimate correction requires further study due to possible systematic errors during estimation. A mixture of data correction and DMU clustering together with multi-stage DEA seems most promising at the moment. Analyzing several stages of transforming society’s resources into social welfare will allow for picking out the weak points in a state agency’s work.