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.
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.