Динамика бюджетной автономии российских городов в условиях перехода к многоуровневому управлению
Throughout the period after the municipal reform in 2003, the governing of Russian cities has been changing. A city as an object of governance is located at the intersection of interests of different levels of public authorities and is not limited only to local authorities This article investigates how budget autonomy of Russian cities has been changing for the last 16 years, and how exogenous economic shocks and large-scale federal initiatives such as the “May Decrees” have influenced the budget autonomy of Russian cities. The paper considers a hypothesis that there was a transition to multi-level governance of Russian cities in 2006–2019, which led to significant reduction of the budget autonomy. Budgets of the 35 largest cities of Russia (except for city-regions like Moscow and Saint Petersburg) were collected and analyzed in terms of their revenue and expenditure sections to test the proposed hypothesis. The relationship between the economic level of development and budget sufficiency was investigated with cluster analysis. The main result of this research is that Russian cities have become dependent on the financial grants from regional governments since there is no national policy of stimulating the economic development of cities. The national economic crisis of 2014 accelerated the process of governance centralization. In addition, the budget autonomy of municipalities was reduced due to the fact that achieving indicators of the May Decrees had become the primary objective for the public authorities. The share of the income tax in local budgets increased significantly although the share and diversity of other income sources decreased.