Российская модель федерализма. Проблемные точки и возможность модернизации
In this paper we study convergence among Russian regions. We find that while there was no convergence in 1990s, the situation changed dramatically in 2000s. While interregional GDP per capita gaps still persist, the differentials in incomes and wages decreased substantially. We show that fiscal redistribution did not play a major role in convergence. We therefore try to understand the phenomenon of recent convergence using panel data on the interregional reallocation of capital and labor. We find that capital market in Russian regions is integrated in a sense that local investment does not depend on local savings. We also show that economic growth and financial development has substantially decreased the barriers to labor mobility. We find that in 1990s many poor Russian regions were in a poverty trap: potential workers wanted to leave those regions but could not afford to finance the move. In 2000s (especially in late 2000s), these barriers were no longer binding. Overall economic development allowed even poorest Russian regions to grow out of the poverty traps. This resulted in convergence in Russian labor market; the interregional gaps in incomes, wages and unemployment rates are now below those in Europe. The results imply that economic growth and development of financial and real estate markets eventually result in interregional convergence.
The article discusses the contemporary state of political regional science in Russia. The author outlines three approaches towards the key notion of political region (political administrative, political system and political sociological), based on its own region-making factors, such as administrative borders, political interests and political identities. The author points out two main parts of political regional science; these are comparative federalism and regionalism on one hand and cross-regional comparative politics on the other hand. The key concepts of political regional science are intergovernmental (or inter-level in broader sense) relations and regional politics. The successful development of Russian political regional science needs for the integration with the Western political science and the resolution of contradictions with some of its traditions.
This article describes the results of sociological research on estimation of condition and development prospects of federalism in Russia, which was conducted by ZIRCON Research Group in January - May 2011. The opinion of population and elite groups of four regions about the foundations of Russian federalism development, administrative-territorial system of the Russian Federation and its principles, relations between subjects-regions and federative centre is presented. The results of the research indicate that at the moment a request for political and administrative autonomy of the subjects of the Federation is not obviously formulated by either citizens or regional elite groups. Regional identity is not a common phenomenon. The authors mark out necessary factors of federalism development: expansion of economic self-dependence of regions, existence of ethno-national or regional identity of citizens, democratization and decentralization.