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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
CHAPTER 2. The New Policies of the Administration.

2.3. Regional approach

Political motives

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The political motives for the possible behavior of the regions toward the center are limited by the protected peculiarities of the status enjoyed by each region, their social pressures, the mentality of regional social groups, individual political viewpoints and the interrelationship of the leadership among the regions and their representatives in the center.

The unstratified nature of society in this transition period forbids the creation of sufficiently wide layers, the interests of which would be expressed by the leadership of the regions. The population, finding itself at the brink of poverty, and deprivation of property and consequently the related interests, exists in a program along political lines of the administration only as a factor of a possible social explosion. The distribution of privatization checks and the creation of joint-stock companies out of state enterprises does not completely mean the creation of property for the public, but were called for basically to soften social dissatisfaction.

Therefore, social groups and owners or distributors of property will most actively pressure to put a "political" face on regional leadership:

-- Directors of state industrial enterprises, interested in the maintenance of stability in socio-political situations in government orders and supplies, along with the full rights to distribute the remainder of its production. -- The leaders of agricultural enterprises (collective and state farms) who are against any attempt to remove them from under the guardianship of the state. -- The leadership of commercial structures (small enterprises, corporations, banks and others), part of whom

are interested not only in the further development and spread of market relations, but also in the lowering of inflation and stability of government policies (the setting of defined "rules of the game," and the lessening of commercial risk).

Land owners and farmers, interested in the stewardship and protection most of all from the regional power structures.

In the future there will be added to their numbers a great growth in real estate owners (of apartments, buildings, dachas), interested in their personal protection from criminal elements and the orderly development of socio- economic situations in their localities (regions) and in the country as a whole. This stratum can and must become the basic interregional and interethnic social movement and party -- the driving force of strength in the new integration.

The above groups are faced with an ever increasing conglomerate of entrepreneurs and individuals of the crime world, who want to keep power to themselves, and with which they live as parasites.

In the whole relationship with the central powers, one can identify regions with conformist, blackmailing, and confrontational types of behavior of their leadership in their dealings with the center. The majority of regional leaders prefer to act flexibly, changing their approach with the current setting, here increasing pressure on the center, there reducing it to achieve their desired ends.

The inability to work out a definite political course in the majority of regions is not least of all due to the absence of accord in the actions of the administration and soviets. By the appraisal of the local authorities themselves, only 3 to 5 regions of Russia have achieved agreement, and non- contradictoriness of decisions and actions between the administration and local soviets. In the majority of the regions, representatives of different social strata, groups and currents who frequently lack fully formed and acknowledged political interests and goals form a conglomerate of local powers. In many instances, they have not learned yet to consider their interests along with the long-term interests of Russia. For that there must be a formulation that unites the various wide strata of the population, their goals and their actions.

In addition, in many regions there are growing gaps between basic elite groups and the holders of real power:

The latest announcement by the leadership of Tatarstan, Bashkortostan and Yakutia regarding their disagreement with Russian Federation authorities, and similar appeals to the constitutional court against the Russian government by the administration of Nizhni Novgorod oblast, regarding the cash crisis, both testify to the regions' conquering, after the finalizing of the Federal Agreement, of firmer legislative positions for pressure on the center.

This pressure in all directions will continue to strengthen as the number of legally elected presidents and heads of local administrations increases, so long as the existing center is able to permit or provide something for the regions.

What is important is not just the fact, as all recognize, of the existence of interregional, ethno-cultural, economic and political differences, but that these differences appear suddenly after the destruction of the majority of the vertical structures of management, and are becoming one of the most important factors in the individualization of regional powers. They are bound to bring with them the necessary choice for each region of its own model of social- economic development from the available set of models. Multiple paths to regional development must come in place of their unity.


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