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Books by Grigory Yavlinsky
Economics and Politics in Russia
The Center for Economic and Political Research (EPIcenter)
Nizhni Novgorod-Moscow, 1992


The Problems of Federal Authority

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What will be the role of the federal power in the reintegration of Russia? Now we are speaking about the federal authorities as a whole, without differentiation between the legislative and the executive authority, and the President's power structures; though certain diametrically- opposed attitudes toward the processes developing have already formed within these structures.

Here various scenarios are possible:

- following up the developments and acting in accordance with the logic of the developments (in the best case - foreseeing the developments and preventative measures which would channel the process into a constructive stream);

- counteraction to the existing processes, an attempt to fix the current state of affairs, and recreate the vertical power structure so as to hinder the integration of Russia on a new basis.

The second variant is rather dangerous. At first glance it seems that this counteraction won't lead anywhere. It can only delay the timeframes of the transformations, which will still be necessary and will take place by all means. But it is not so. Such actions by the federal authorities performed either through introducing "martial law", or through strengthening the institution of the President's representatives in the regions (which is envisaged by one of the amendments to the draft of the new Constitution of Russia, forwarded by the Russian President to the Constitutional Commission of the Supreme Soviet in mid- August), or through delaying the elections of the local administration heads, will result in the desire of the regions to liquidate the federal power in its present form, replacing it with some other form. Out of the element which could coordinate interregional contradictions, the federal authority will turn into a toy in the hands of the regions. In this case we will enter a more or less long period of social chaos, and it will be impossible to get out of it without serious losses. In general, the union authorities had already made an attempt to "keep and hold", which led to the loss of power by the union structures and to disintegration of the country.

The first variant is highly desirable. In this variant the federal power plays a role as a balancing force, it rules the process, and turns the spontaneous disintegration into a manageable reintegration of the country. In this case the

integrity which will result out of political reforms will be different from the integrity which would come out of the second variant. The only thing in common here is that both the ways will lead to a formation of a new structure. But in the first case the system will remain in balance, the federal authority will play an active role, and overexaggerated demands of the regions won't be fulfilled; with this purpose there will be used corresponding institutions supported by the other regions' interests and the federal authorities' rights. If the central power acts within the developing process, its performance will become a very important condition for formation of responsible subjects of the federation. In this scenario, one more factor can be added to the list of those facilitating the formation of the new subjects of the federation.

It would be desirable that the political process develop such that the Centre and the regions simultaneously initiate the transformations.

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