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Article

Russian Administrative Reform: Better Outcomes through Broader Participation

Public Administration Issues. 2018. No. 5. P. 133-144.

Th e following paper deals with the issue of the Russian administrative reform of
the 2000s. Th e subject of analysis is the relationship between the extent of inclusivity in
the reform process and its outcomes. To study this relationship we start by focusing on
the federal stage of the reform’s design, outlining institutions, involved actors and their
strategies. We claim that due to the closed nature of the reform, its offi cial Conception
was highly incoherent. Following this, we turn our attention to the implementation of
the reform in the Russian regions. We illustrate this process by outlining one case of the
reform in the Republic of Karelia, based on interviews with representatives of bureaucracy,
civil society and the expert community. Here we also demonstrate that greater
engagement by interested groups results in better implementation of reform. Th en we
introduce simple regression to trace the relationship between two major directions of
administrative reform – one based on the new public management idea of cost effi ciency
and the other grounded in the public governance call for greater community participation.
Our model shows that these directions are hugely contradictory due to the logical
incoherent Conception of the reform. We suggest some possible solutions to deal with
this problem to some extent, which will require an even broader set of actors involved in
the reform process. Th erefore, looking at examples from the federal and regional dimensions
of the Russian administrative reform, we argue that a more open regime within
a policy subsystem with a broader circle of participating actors will lead to a more coherent
content of policy change and better implementation of the initial conception.