The constitutional principle of uniform economic area and centralization of public finance in the Russian Federation: analysis of the Russian Federation Constitutional Court’s Rulings
The paper devotes the issue of centralization in public finance in Russia, and highlights one of the problems of interpretation of the Russian Constitution clauses. The Rulings of the Russian Federation Constitutional Court of the period 1997 – 2006 created the legal grounds for the process of centralization and reduction of the regional powers regarding to budgeting and taxation. But all arguments of the Court are debatable. Wherein, the centralization is justified by the constitutional principle of uniform economic area. The author argues that the Russian Constitution does not have clauses establishing the uniform budget and tax systems directly, and any model of intergovernmental relations might comply with the Russian Constitution. Uniformity of economic area does not imply uniformity in taxation and budgeting in the sense of sameness. Study of foreign practices shows different approaches to understanding of uniformity in economy and in taxation and budgeting. The contemporary Russian public finance law forms under the influence of the Constitutional Court’s legal positions, and the process of centralization is still going on. The Russian history of intergovernmental relations (1991 – 1997) shows another model of fiscal federalism – the decentralized federalism. Replacement of the fiscal federalism models is determined by the political considerations, no by the constitutional requirements.