On the basis of an empirical study conducted in three towns and one district (rayon) of the Perm region and the Ivanovo region the processes of interaction between the legislative and executive branches of local government has been described and explained. In all the local communities the representative bodies were not equal partners of the executives while the heads of the local administrations remain the most powerful figures. The differences between the communities were determined, first, by the composition of the executive leaders and, second, by the configuration of power resources and methods of influence used by them. Both elected mayors and appointed city-managers can be the leaders of the executive institutions; their leadership positions depend not so much on institutional (formal) properties, but on personal characteristics of particular actors. Four types (models) of interaction between the branches of local government has been identified: (1) “dominance based on coercion”, (2) “covert manipulation", (3) “dominance based on bargaining”, (4) “dominance in the situation of confrontation”. In the first case the dominance of the local executive over the local legislature is the most evident: dependence of the deputies from the city-manager is so high that he does not need to directly interfere with their activities since the right decisions are made “by default”. In the second and third cases the dependence is less obvious and the leaders of the local executives have to be more actively involved in the process of local decision-making; in the configuration of resources and techniques used to influence the local deputies the major roles play, respectively, resources of manipulation and bargaining. In the last case the situation is complicated by the continuing split within the political and administrative elite which poses a threat to the dominance of the leader of the local administration in the local politics.
The utopian Communist ideal of a workers’ state, which was put into action after the Bolshevik takeover of power in Russia in 1917, provoked new types of social mobilization, adaptation, and domination and new political institutions. At the core of this experiment was the new concept of Labor Unions as a form of intermediate democracy which could potentially be transformed into a communal state based on the collective production and distribution of property, wealth, and social responsibility between broad nets of workers unions.In the sociological literature and international historiography, this social experiment was scrutinized as a rare or even unique historical example of how the abstract syndical concept of a stateless society (based on cooperation and solidarity rather than on bureaucratic control) could be put into reality. This form of self-government was interpreted as a substantive historical alternative to the traditional “bourgeois” state with its key institutions – parliamentarianism, the separation of powers and an independent judicial system. In some current left-oriented theories, this is considered a “model” experiment – successful, consecutive and effective in its initial stage (in the period of the so-called “War Communism” in 1918–20), but revised and finally rejected in the following period of bureaucratic Communism with its one-party hegemony and Stalinist dictatorship. In order to understand the scientific value of such statements, the author provides a detailed analysis of the principles, initial forms and implications of Soviet labor self-government in the early formation period (1918), using multiple primary sources – the minutes and protocols of central and local labor unions, the old and the new ones, which depict the social, professional, and administrative stratification of Russian revolutionary society during its formation. The author’s central argument is that the so-called deterioration of labor selfgovernment in Soviet Russia was rooted mainly in the internal transformation of unions as formal organizations rather than external pressure or strategic mistakes. From the very beginning the revolutionary labor unions were different from the typical Western social democratic unions – they had a different, more traditional, social background, and sought a different role in social transformation. A combination of internal and external factors in this transformation created the institutional basis for a new type of social inequality, the development of oligarchic trends in Soviet labor unions, and the formation of a new “labor bureaucracy”. The Bolshevist party exploited these trends but did not generate them. In other words, the whole experiment in workers’ democracy from its very beginning was profoundly unrealizable and belongs to the museum of human utopian social projects.
This article discusses how national identity in Russia is understood by the public and among experts who study ethnic issues. The author separates the notion of national identity into categorical identity and associative identity (i.e. the consolidating type of identity which is based on a strong feeling of connection with other citizens). The latter type of identity is present only among a third of people who identify themselves as Russian. The author further analyses the connection of this type of identity with interethnic negativism. She finds that national identity does not remove bias towards abstract ‘others'. However, it affects direct interethnic communication in the labour and family spheres. The positive impact of national identity on interethnic attitudes is more apparent in Astrakhan region, which has longer experience of interethnic communication. It is argued that one obstacle to national identity having a positive impact on interethnic attitudes is the lack of a clear and consistent understanding of national identity among education experts, social scientists, and journalists. The study utilizes data from Wave 24 of the Russian Longitudinal Monitoring Survey (RLMS-HSE) conducted by the Institute of Sociology (“The dynamics of social transformation of modern Russia in the socio- economic, political, socio-cultural and ethno-religious contexts” Wave 4) and several separate regional polls conducted by the Department of Ethno-sociology of the Institute of Sociology,