The permanent transformation of the Russian local self-government comes to its logical end. The trend of management centralization including the ‘upward’ transfer of the powers of local authorities, combined with a decrease in their financial resources, determines the transition to the system of ‘single public authority’ as declared in the new version of the Constitution of the Russian Federation. The author’s description of these changes’ impact on the organization of everyday rural life and rural development challenges is based on semi-formalized interviews with representatives of local authorities in three regions of Siberia. According to the respondents, the redistribution of power resources in favor of the regional level and the reduction of the local self-government powers threaten the ability to effectively solve local tasks, primarily those of the rural development. The not always justified transfer of urban (corporate) management standards to rural areas inevitably leads to manipulations with statistical reports and data which serve as the basis for decisions on the distribution of budgetary funds. Administrative reforms did not solve but rather exacerbated both the direct financing of the local authorities work and the allocation of resources for rural development projects. The co-financing of initiative projects by the population and local businesses did not deliver the expected results. ‘Digitalization’ of management activities by uniform patterns which ignore local features rather creates an additional burden on local administrators than saves costs or increases decisions’ efficiency. The identified trends determine new significant risks for rural life and development. To reduce such risks to reasonable limits, we need deep, carefully thought-out and well-balanced changes in the rural self-government institutions.
Local self-government, municipal government, rural development, reforms, formal and informal institutions, Omsk Region, Altai Region, Tomsk Region.
Fadeeva Olga P., PhD (Sociology), Senior Researcher, Institute of Economics and Organization of Industrial Production, Siberian Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences. 630090 Novosibirsk, Academician Lavrentieva St., 17.
The author presents the main quantitative and qualitative results of the territorial public self-government (TPSG) development in the Republic of Buryatia. In 2020, Buryatia took the second place in the number of TPSG in Russia due to the efforts of regional and municipal authorities and to the grassroot initiatives. In the 2010s, the extensive measures of material, organizational and methodological support for TPSG were implemented. In 2018, the regional law on TPSG support was adopted, the TPSG Support Resource Center has been operating since 2019, the Best TPSG competition has been held annually since 2012, and the number of its participants was more than 1000 in 2020. The total number of TPSGs in Buryatia increased from 18 to 2265 in the 2010s. They implement projects in landscaping, construction and repair of social-cultural and engineering facilities, organize sport, cultural and other events. According to the results of the research conducted in February-March 2021 (interviews, collection and analysis of 420 forms on TPSG practices in municipal and urban districts), Buryatia needs a number of organizational measures for the sustainable development of TPSG system in the near future, a strategy for the mid-term development of TPSGs, measures to ensure the social potential of TPSGs in local settlements, scientific and managerial monitoring of the TPSG system, a data archive, development of TPSGs as NGOs, LLCs and other forms, creation and support of a network of TPSG associations in municipal and urban districts, reduction of disparities in the development of urban and rural TPSGs networks, development of TPSGs and business partnerships, and so on.
Territorial public self-government, Russia, Republic of Buryatia, local selfgovernment, civil initiatives.
Breslavsky Anatoly S., PhD (History), Senior Researcher, Institute for Mongolian, Buddhist and Tibetan Studies of the Siberian Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences. 670047, Ulan-Ude, Sakhyanovoy St., 6.
Local self-government is a structuring element of the institutional environment; thus, its functioning determines the development of territories. The trend of municipal reforming appeared in the countries of Western Europe as early as the mid-1970s due to the general federalization and the empowerment of local authorities. Later similar reforms began in the post-Soviet countries. In 2015, Ukraine adopted the Conception of reforming local self-government and territorial organization of power. According to this Conception, the hierarchy of state power was to be optimized and a new administrative-territorial structure reflecting the contemporary system of social and economic relations in the regions of Ukraine was to be formed. The article considers the evolution of the administrative-territorial and municipal structure of the Ukrainian regions, analyzes the international experience of the reform, and identifies the essence of the municipal reform of 2015 highlighting its strengths and weaknesses.
local self-government, local authorities, municipal reform, state administration, system of management, community, institutional environment
Gusakov Timur Yu., Junior Researcher, Center for Agrarian Studies, Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration. 119571, Moscow, Vernadskogo Prosp., 82.
In 2006–2008, the author took part in the expeditions to seven districts of four subjects of the Russian Federation, which were supported by the Russian Foundation for Humanities. The research project included (according to the sequence of field trips): in the Tver Region — Maksatikhinsky and Lesnoy districts; in the Novgorod Region — Pestovsky district; in the Vologda Region — Ustyuzhensky, Kaduysky and Babayevsky districts; in the Leningrad Region — Boksitogorsky district. At that time, the Federal Law No. 131 “On Local Self-Government” was adopted, and we conducted a survey of all heads of municipalities (rural settlements) and heads of operating agricultural enterprises including peasant farms. The results of expeditions were presented at a number of Russian and international conferences, and in numerous publications. The current research aims at studying those mechanisms of interaction of rural business with local authorities that reproduce the rural entrepreneurial stratum. To achieve this goal, we focus on the interaction of agricultural business with local (district and municipal) authorities and on its changes over the past fifteen years; and consider configurations of different interaction factors, which ensure the most effective reproduction of the entrepreneurial stratum in the village, in order to reconstruct models of interaction based on such configurations. Thus, the research focus on regional differences in the policies of local authorities for agricultural production and on their changes determined by the changes of the heads of district and municipal administrations.
Local self-government, agricultural production, municipal government, rural entrepreneurship, Internet.
Bozhkov Oleg B., Senior Researcher, Sociological Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences; Head of the Research Center “Biographical Foundation”. 190005, Saint Petersburg, 7th Krasnoarmeiskaya St., 25/14.
In the interview to the Russian Peasant Studies, the Governor of the Belgorod Region, Doctor of Economics, Corresponding Member of the Russian Academy of Sciences Yevgeny Savchenko refers to his life trajectory to consider the history and the present state of the agrarian and social policy in Russia and the Belgorod Region. The interview focuses on the role of the state in developing a responsible agrarian policy that establishes the rules under the market economy and regulates economic and social interaction of large and small forms of agricultural production, the social development of the village, innovative trends in agriculture, and takes care of environmental challenges, problems of local self-government, and training of personnel for agriculture. The governor emphasized the significance of agroholdings in agriculture and in the Russian society in general, identifies possible directions of agroholdings participation in the development of rural areas. In the Belgorod rural programs, particular attention is paid to restoring soil fertility, environmental development of the “Green Capital” project, and barriers to the spread of bioenergy and alternative energy. The governor notes that despite the catastrophic trials in the life of the Russian peasantry in the 20th century, which determined the loss of peasant mentality, in contemporary Russia there is still a need for preservation and development of the culture of rural communities and territories that seamlessly combine rural traditions and innovations, for example, in the form of ancestral estates and homeowners’ associations. In the conclusion, the interview stresses that by the will of fate rural Russia often had to be a pioneer.
Rural Russia, rural development, agrarian policy, collective and state farms, agroholdings, vertical integration, ecology, local self-government.
Savchenko Evgeny S., DSc (Economics), Corresponding member of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Governor of the Belgorod Region. 308005, Belgorod, Sobornaya pl., 4.
Nikulin Alexander M., PhD (Economics), Head of the Center for Agrarian Studies, Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration; 119571, Moscow, Prosp. Vernadskogo, 82.
The article considers the role of the Siberian factor in the key contradictions of the Russian history, in which the logic of extensive space development prevails over the logic of a decent lifestyle, and the monopolistic nature of power and imperial consciousness are preserved. The author refers to Pierre Bourdieu’s concept of “circular reinforcement” (interdependence of physical and social space) as relevant for the social space of Russia. The article considers a new wave of internal colonization and its ideocratic design as a system of power that authorizes itself as the custodian of great historical meanings and demands from its subjects to adhere to these meanings. The author believes that the resumption of the authority of the center (and new hypercentralism) is determined, first, by the confirmation by the new “central” actors of its absolute ownership on the territory of the country, and, second, by the secondary colonization (i.e. the system to hold the population), which explains the reproduction of the empire. The author accepts the key role of the Siberian factor in the search for ways to overcome the logic of extensive development (the program of V. Zubov and V. Inozemtsev) but questions the single subjectness of Siberia as a manifestation of the optics of centralism in social sciences. The Siberian identity (“Siberians”) does not lead to the subjectivity of Siberia even as a form of political reflection. One of the destructive consequences of centralism in social sciences is their inability to articulate the subjectivity of the territory, land or local community in scientific terms. The article outlines the role of some social studies and humanitarian education in promoting real federalism.
Siberia, social space, circular reinforcement, internal colonization, ideocracy, local self-government, federalism.
Rozhansky Mikhail Ya., PhD (Philosophy), Scientific Head of the Center for Independent Social Studies. Address: Bogdan Khmelnitsky St., 30A, Irkutsk-3, 664003, Russia.
Russia started the reconstruction of the institutional bases of social regulation after the complete destruction of the former system. Almost all market and political institutions were to be designed after the collapse of the Soviet Union, Communist Party and planned economy. As the post-socialist transformation is a profound institutional change new institutionalism can be a theoretical framework for the study of local self-government reform in Russia. Institutionalism is a specific approach to the study of social, economic and political phenomena. The structure of local self-government and behaviour of its actors are determined by a set of rules developed in the soviet and post-soviet period; thus, the changes in this set of rules (or institutions) at the local level are of central importance in understanding the reform (with emphasis on both successes and failures). The development of local self-government in Russia is fundamentally dependent on institutions (both formal and informal) governing actors’ behaviour. The article considers the nature of institutions and the ways they interact, and the local self-government as a political, economic and social institution. The author also applies the governance approach (from government to governance) to the governing system as a long-lasting social institution. Thus, changes in institutions lead to a new regime of governing and to new types of social interactions within local self-government and institutions as its key success factors (good governance).
local self-government, institutions, institutionalism, governance, management system, actors, rules and restrictions
Kopoteva Inna V., PhD (Geography), Senior Researcher, Centre for Agrarian Studies, Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration. 119571, Moscow, Prosp. Vernadskogo, 82.