The chapter overviews the development of the EU-Russia cooperation in Justice and Home Affairs (JHA). Taking as a starting point the agreement to create the four common spaces in 2003, including the Common Space of Freedom, Security and Justice, the paper traces how the incorporation of the visa-free regime prospects into the Road Map for the Common Space has had a lasting impact on all further collaborative attempts before the freeze of cooperation in early 2014. Being an instance of policy conditionality which the EU often applies to the countries whose membership prospects are off the table, visa waiver prospects has restructured relations between the EU and Russia from being equitable (as initially presupposed by the common spaces) to strictly hierarchical. Moreover, with time passing by the EU was able to use this instrument not only in relation to the areas of cooperation directly linked to visa arrangements but also to the issues of security and justice which had been initially left to the network governance approach in the Road Map – a subtler and less hierarchical mode of the EU external governance. This creeping approach reached its climax in late 2013 when the Commission stopped hiding its resolve to use policy conditionality and coupled it with the value-loaded rhetoric of classical political conditionality, effectively bringing the cooperation on the verge of a stalemate. Paradoxically, the major breakthroughs in EU-Russia cooperation in JHA owe exactly to this policy conditionality whereas the network governance mode has borne almost no fruit to this day.
The chapter traces and explains responses to deinstitutionalisation reforms in the Russian regions. Three parallel policy shifts are taken into account: deinstitutionalisation (DI), public sector reform, and social provision reform. Considered together, they shed light on the logic behind childcare reform implementation at the regional level in the broader context of social policy transformations in Russia. Taking a neo-institutional perspective, the chapter studies compliance and resistance as two types of responses to the federal demand to introduce a new institutional design. Three institutional changes are in focus: (1) the restructuring of public providers with an emphasis on support services and the temporary placement of children; (2) changes to which ministries are in charge of alternative care; and (3) downsizing public sector agents traditionally responsible for this type of care and outsourcing social services to NGOs. The chapter seeks to identify regions that either comply with or resist these reforms, exploring how regional contexts explain variation in responses. The chapter’s empirical analysis reveals regional patterns of resistance and compliance as well as exceptional cases and the socioeconomic contexts which account for them.
Our research bears on two critical issues for contemporary Russia: federal–regional power relations; and whether Moscow can modernize institutions and address dissatisfaction with social service delivery, a major political issue. It is the first comprehensive study of a major 2015 reform that ended the state monopoly over service provision and initiated outsourcing (contracting out) to socially oriented non-profits (SONPOs) and other nonstate organizations. We find substantial interregional variation. Statistical tests of economic, political, and institutional explanations show that only the economic helps to explain variation across Russia's regions. We rely on comparisons of six regions, drawing on semi-structured interviews to gain a contextualized understanding of their varied implementation strategies. Key findings are that regional leaders demonstrated agency in crafting diverse strategies, while the Center showed flexibility. Whether Moscow can modernize public services remains unclear, though there is some evidence of improvement since the beginning of the outsourcing reform.
The authors introduce ongoing child welfare reform in Russia, consider the international and national context, as well as the main drivers of these reforms and their current results. In addition, a literature review of field is also provided. Child welfare reform in Russia builds on the idea of every child’s right to grow up in a family. The main aim is to deinstitutionalize the child welfare system by promoting adoptions and fostering, restructuring the remaining residential institutions into home-like environments and creating community-based family support services. The chapter introduces the main concepts and terminology used to describe the child welfare system, the research questions of the volume, and employs a neo-institutionalist framework as the theoretical framework of the book. The volume analyses how reform is implemented, which echoes a fundamental change in the ideological premises of child welfare policy. Thus, the reform has shifted the course of the child welfare policy in Russia. The volume examines how the reforms are affecting the institutions and practices of child welfare in Russia, what kind of institutional change has followed the shift in the ideals, and what are the intended and unintended consequences of these reform processes. Finally, the chapter gives a brief overview of the chapters in the volume.
Due to the successful centralization efforts of the beginning of the 2000s, Russian governors almost lost their domestic as well as international agency. However, there is still a considerable variation in their international activity levels that remains unexplained. Employing an original dataset on the international activity of Russian governors from 2005 to 2015, the article investigates what effect regional political regime, ethnicity and other factors have on the level of gubernatorial participation in paradiplomacy. The level of regional democracy, the absence of ties between governors and regional elites, and the ethnic distinctiveness of a region are all positively associated with the engagement in international activity. The article demonstrates that regional authorities turn to paradiplomacy when faced with pressures for resource attraction and ethnic identity construction, even under the conditions of a relatively centralized authoritarian state.
The paper reviews the most recent findings in multilevel governance and multilevel political systems. Multilevel governance is defined here as a distribution and sustainable patterns of exchange of the major power resources between autonomous centers of power (governments) situated at different levels within the multilevel structure. Following the trend laid down for the federalism and decentralization research by Tulia Falleti, we distinguish between three types of resources: the budgets (the monetary resources pertaining to fiscal financial flows), the information (mostly provided from the lower to the upper levels of government), and legitimacy (mostly the electoral and clientelist support supplied to each other by governments on different levels during elections). The article reveals the general trends within this research stream and outlines the existent gaps in our understanding of exchange and distribution of particular types of resources between different levels of government in multilevel governance. The first two sections provide a brief overview of the development of empirical research on federalism and multi-tiered systems, and explicate the rationale for the study of the distribution of resources between governments at different levels of power. Researching these resources’ exchange in the short run, and the long-term patters of such exchanges are two different research agendas. In particular, paying closer attention to the long-term sustainable patterns of resource exchange may serve as an explanation for higher or lower resilience in multilevel governance structures. Modeling such exchange may therefore serve as grounds for an endogenous theory of multilevel and federal governance. The second part of the paper provides a more detailed review of the most recent research into particular types of resources and their exchange between levels of government. We describe the “natural” asymmetries in these resources’ distribution between levels. Finally, the conclusion highlights the existent gaps and sets up the agenda for future research
Human development, social policy and e-participation are interdependent. Effective social investment in the human capital leads to the emergence of demand for participation mechanisms among citizens, which in turn results in the willingness of authorities to implement participatory innovations. At the same time, e-participation is itself a part of the social investment paradigm, aimed at raising the quality of citizen feedback on social and economic policy. This paper attempts to test this interrelationship in the case of the Russian regions. Recently regional authorities have introduced a lot of e-participation platforms. However, many researchers emphasize the insufficient effectiveness of such platforms, as well as disproportions in their development at the regional level. Using an original evaluation methodology, we have estimated the quality of the regional e-participation portals. These data have been used in a quantitative study. The results of correlation and regression analysis suggest that human development and social expenses of the regions are important factors of e-participation development, in comparison to other potential predictors, like quality of political institutions, quality of governance and IT-expenses. It is impossible to say that human development inevitably leads to the growth of demand on e-participation among citizens, or the supply of such services from the government. However, the analysis shows that social policy is important for e-participation development: despite investment in ICT, regional authorities should actively contribute to social investment. Possible directions of such investment include providing equal opportunities via raising the living standards of the unprotected social groups, developing social programs for active citizens, eliminating regional disparities, as well as investing in the digital capabilities of citizens and civic initiatives.
Information openness of public advisory councils is an important, but underexplored indicator of their role in public policy, reflecting their activities, as well as the feedback mechanisms between citizens and councils. Scholars usually point out low information quality on federal and regional levels, but the reasons for such situation are studied rarely, especially in comparative perspective. The paper attempts to fill in this gap, by revealing the conditions leading to greater information openness. We have selected St. Petersburg as a case and gather an original dataset on 46 public councils. The key research method used is the fuzzy-set qualitative comparative analysis. The framework is built on two expectations about the impact of councils’ autonomy (in website management and general organization) and the role of councils (“intermediary” or “expert”) on information openness.
Due to the lack of data and other limitations, the results have not revealed any conditions which can be considered a guarantee for better openness. However, we make a preliminary conclusion that the differences in the autonomy and roles are important conditions. The autonomy of councils, understood as their longevity and share of participants from nongovernmental organizations, seems to be the most crucial factors, regardless of the role they play. In some cases, an independent website and high openness of the related government agency may be important as well. Nevertheless, deep case studies of particular cases can enrich our knowledge on this topic. A valuable contribution of this paper is the framework of analysis that can be used for other cases and research strategies.
Although trust is considered a crucial driver of online human behavior, its conceptualization often poses a challenge to scholars, due to the multidimensional nature of the phenomenon and the variety of online contexts in which trust manifests itself. While many studies have been performed to reveal the dimensions of trust in certain online domains, little has been done to build a holistic model that describes trust relations across the domains. This study aims to address this by building an empirical multifactor model of cybersocial trust. Using data obtained via the public opinion survey in St. Petersburg, Russia, and exploratory factor analysis, we have revealed six key factors of online trust, each reflecting different forms of interactions with people, organizations, or institutions. Implications of this multidimensional model and further steps for research are also discussed.
This study analyzes roll call voting in the Council of Ministers from December 2003 to May 2019 in order to identify the factors that determine the strategies of coalition behavior of 28 EU Member States. The analysis makes possible to single out two important cleavages affecting the coalitional preferences of the Ministers of states. The first cleavage is observed between the EU members from Eastern and Western Europe. The second cleavage is associated with the duration of the countries’ EU membership. The rationalistic intentions of member countries related to the agenda of the Council and their ideological preferences also influence the process of coalition formation and allow the EU states to go beyond the geographic and ‘temporal’ cleavages.
Extensive literature shows that businesspeople thrive on political connections. Most research, however, does not differentiate between types of political connection, thus effectively assuming that economic return on being connected should not differ systematically between federal and regional, legislative and executive, formal and informal connections. We collect a unique comprehensive dataset on Russia’s richest businesspeople in 2003–2010 and demonstrate that only certain types of connections work, depending on the political context. Our analysis shows that as Russian politics became centralized and the federal executive more powerful during the 2000s, businesspeople with informal connections to the federal executive increased their fortunes much faster compared with everyone else—including those with any other type of connections. Businesspeople’s wealth thus dynamically reflected these important political changes. This suggests a procedure for inferring nominally unobservable changes in the political system from politically connected businesspeople’s fortunes, while also shedding additional light on the institutional origins of informality in Russian politics today.
The paper reports the results of the public opinion survey held in St. Petersburg (Russia) in May 2019. The main goal of the survey was to explore the multifaceted concept of trust in the context of online services and technologies, as well as to estimate the level of citizens' trust to different online tools. The findings, among others, suggest that citizens' trust towards online communication with the government is rather low, as well as their online political efficacy. Furthermore, a preliminary factor analysis was conducted to conceptualize the three basic components of online trust (institutional, transactional and information). The future avenues of research are also presented.
In Russia, formal constitutional principles of federalism cannot be abolished without putting the country’s political stability at significant risk. Even the Soviet leadership could not afford to take such chances. The size of the Russian territory, its diversity, the importance of its historical memory (both the Russian Empire and the Soviet federal construction), and the presence of ethnic regions all make abolishing formal constitutional principles unpractical. Thus, federalism as a constitutional principle is invariably maintained by the Russian leadership. Yet many scholars say that federal institutions do not work in Russia, or that a genuine federal principle is simply inconsistent with authoritarian rule.
Without refuting these arguments, we suggest that the situation surrounding federal relations in modern Russia is more complicated. We argue that formal federal institutions create a potential latent threat to the stability of the country’s regime. Federal relations seem largely irrelevant because Moscow constantly preemptively works against institutions of federalism, trying to carefully suppress the potentially dangerous effects of federalism. As a result, federal relations in Russia are a combination of formal and informal rules, where informal non-federal practices prevail. While this system is neither homogenous nor strong, it nevertheless remains stable. It has endured through institutions that suppress regional demands for autonomy and deprive them of representation at the national level.
The Russian leadership promotes a vision of a multipolar world where major powers must have their own “zones of influence.” This implies that other “great powers” have to recognize Moscow’s sphere of dominance over the post-Soviet realm. It also makes Russia’s neighbors increasingly reluctant to delegate their sovereignty to institutions of regional integration, as those are likely to become instruments of Russian domination. As the partners do not trust Russia, they insist on a limited character of integration projects. Russia is more likely to be successful in using asymmetric bilateral bargains rather than multilateral institutions to dominate the post-Soviet region.
Russia is a country whose size and diversity shows the need for a federal governmental structure. It is the biggest territory in the world, inhabited by 200 ethnic groups, some of which are in real conflict with each other. As well, it has enormous economic disparities and an extremely uneven population distribution. However, neither the long experience of the RSFSR in the USSR nor more than 25 years of functioning as the Russian Federation has led to the formation of a stable and successful federal structure.
The paper aims at contributing to the debate on whether open govern-ment impacts the quality of governance, and if so, identify the causal mechanisms that might be evident to support this impact. Using structural equation modeling, we test the sample of country-level data from 2014 to 2017, assessing the direct effect of open government on the government effectiveness, as well as its indirect effect via the levels of democracy and corruption. Our analysis confirms that open government may have positive effects on the quality of governance, but this effect is moderated by the level of corruption in a country.
Legitimacy is a vital source of stability in authoritarian political systems, and non-democracies are developing various tools to sustain it. The Internet is said to be one such tool, offering a variety of legitimizing effects, but the main discussion in this paper is around the referent object and the type of legitimation. This study attempts to explore how the diffusion of online tools is associated with different legitimation strategies of authoritarian countries, as measured by the Varieties of Democracy project. The analysis suggests that IT – tools diffusion is strongly and positively correlated with the rational-legal and performance types of legitimation. While the data is subject to variation, the results support an earlier claim that the proliferation of online tools is legitimation-driven and is applied to specific forms of legitimacy. This initial analysis will be further developed by including legitimation strategies into the causal Internet diffusion models.
This paper explores the phenomenon of e-voting, in particular, new i-voting technologies, within the context of hybrid and authoritarian political regimes. While e-voting and i-voting are not particularly widespread, more and more illiberal countries are implementing these innovations, which has been overlooked in the academia so far. The paper attempts to fill in this gap. Firstly, we provide a general overview of the problem and identify the key features of non-democracies adopting e-voting and i-voting. Secondly, we explore the case of Russia, a hybrid regime, which may become a role model for other countries in the near future. The research exposes the potential of e-voting, and in particular, i-voting as a tool for the regime stability and provides some avenues of the future research.
The Russian Constitutional Court (RCC) has over time developed a practice of adopting so-called “Positive inadmissibility decisions” (Pozitivnoe Opredelenie) which complements (but also undermines) the existent formal procedure of only delivering decisions on merits with Judgments (Postanovlenie). The paper explores the uses of this peculiar practice. I show that the Positive inadmissibility doctrine is used by the Court to overcome the rigidity of the formal procedure where this is necessary for reasons of inter- or intra-organizational expediency. To do that I construct and analyze quantitatively a unique comprehensive dataset of all decisions handed down by the RCC in 1995–2015. I show that “Positive inadmissibility decisions” are handed whenever a subpar case is deemed too important to be simply dismissed: in particular, if it is submitted by a powerful petitioner, or when the case is assigned to a longer serving member of the Court for judicial report.