Russia and the Council of Europe: Topics for Common Agenda A Look from Norway. Academic Papers of the 10th International Session of the HSE Russian – European Center for Multidisciplinary Research, Oslo, 1-8 August, 2010
This publication is an continuation of the series of yearly Academic Papers, published since 2006, by the “Baltic Practice” interdisciplinary research Center, in a form of structured and edited collection of research papers of participants of the International HSE Summer School “Practice at the Baltic Sea” or simply “Baltic Practice”, submitted by the students of National Research University “Higher School of Economics”, as well undergraduate and graduate students from several European universities, complimented by the commentaries and research articles by research groups academic leaders and experts.
This publication is a continuation of the series of yearly Academic papers, published since 2006, by the "Baltic Practice" interdisciplinary research Center, in a form of structured and edited collection pf research papers of participants of the International summer school "Practice at the Baltic Sea" or simply "Baltic Practice".
This chapter presents papers by the participants of the working group “Local Governance and Local Democracy”. Oxana Chernenko, Ass. Prof. of HSE, and Susan Guerra, Municipality of Oslo, Unit for Sustainability, were the academic supervisors of this group, Chuck Hirt, Council of Europe, expert, head of Citizens Network.
The group worked on the following research problems. According to the
European Charter of Local Self-Government (1985), “Local self-government denotes the right and the ability of local authorities, within the limits of the law, to regulate and manage a substantial share of public affairs under their own responsibility and in the interests of the local population”. To what extent does practice of municipal governance in the Russian Federation give us justification of this phenomenon?
Almost everywhere in theRussian Federation municipal management is not based on local self-government. The process of transferring management functions to local communities level is not developing but rather declining. The signs of interaction of local self-governance with municipal management can only be seen in rural settlements and towns. They are weak in city settlements, despite of the favorable local environment, and are not shown in any way at the municipal areas level where bodies of municipal management associate themselves with the government, and this
aspiration is supported by the regional level of the state government(power). The institute of local authorities institute is different by nature, which causes constantly arising problems with the explanation, and furthermore, with prediction local selfgovernance trends. Absence of a developed methodology does not allow to provide standard consistent recommendations about the structure of municipal authority. The
object of research is still “too young” (despite the deep tradition of self-governance in Russia, not only in rural communities, but also in towns) and still very much dependent on the local social and administrative features, as well as on the territorial and spatial features of the country.
The aim of this project was to study and analyze models of self -governance at the level of local communities through cross-country comparison (especially from a legal perspective) and to see how the European experience can be implemented in Russia.
These issues are discussed in the participants’ papers, including “Reputationbased governance and making states ‘legible’ to their citizens” by Lucio Picci, “Improving the quality of municipal service: cases on administrative reforms in the UK and Sweden” by Julia Minaeva, and “Local Governance in Scandinavian countries: is there a Common Model?” by Svetlana Tokunova.
The last time investigators have a deal with both facts and subjective interpretation in the area of social science. The social phenomenon can be interpretated by the some researchers in different ways. These ways can be depend on empirical basis of research, researchers’ belonging to different scientific society, their social position, status and political views. The political scientist, researching the some problems, can be dependent on his political view, thereby the political science loses its impartiality. It’s need to use universal instruments to level subjective opinion of political scientists and raise the objectivity of summary at political science. Such universal instrument is appeal to mathematician and mathematic modeling. In our case of researching Freedom of speech and independence of media in Russia on the examples of analytical, social and political programs on TV we’ve built the mathematic lattices, represented hierarchies of experts in terms of popularity in different subperiods. Such instrument allows to us not only objectively estimate popularity of any experts, but also make the conclusions about different ways experts’ activity.
As Giandomenico Majone fairly stated in his Evidence, Argument and Persuasion in the Policy Process, politicians know too well but social scientists too often forget, that “public policy is made of language” The idea to apply categories of rhetoric to the policy-making is not by itself new, for the "analysts, like lawyers, politicians, and others who make a functional use of language, will always be involved in all the technical problems of language, including rhetorical problems”. The article analuzed human rights discourse and tries to fina an answer to the question, why the idea of human rights remains unpopular with certain segments of the Russian society and how human rights activists and lawyers may promote the idea of human rights.