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Article

Power in the local Russian Communities: Patterns of Interaction Between Legislative and Executive Branches of Local Government

Urban Affairs Review. 2017. Vol. 53. No. 6. P. 990-1024.
Valeri Ledyaev, Alla Chirikova.

Using data collected in 7 local Russian communities in 2011-2015 we discovered several kinds of relationships between legislative and executive branches of local government. In most cases the executive branches clearly dominate over the legislative ones. The ratio of resources and the politics of federal and regional authorities allow us to consider this pattern of relationship as a norm, while others types of relationships are exceptions. Configurations of power resources and instruments of influence used to exercise control over the legislative bodies significantly vary and provide different variations of local government interactions: “domination based on coercion”, “bargaining from the position of strength”, “domination based on persuasion”, “domination under confrontation”. Alternative forms of relationships (“quasi-domination of local legislature”, “temporary parity under confrontation”, “alliance in the face of "external threat"”) occur when the executive bodies are headed by inadequate and/or inexperienced leaders unable to realize the high power potential of their position. This reflects the important role of personalism and the relative weakness of the institutional framework in Russia’s urban politics.