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7TheDevelopment LocalLegislaturesinRussia : TheCase Yaroslavl
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ThepurposeofthischapteristoexploretheprocessofdemocratizationatthelocallevelofgovernmentinRussia.Inparticular,itwill focusonthedevelopmentoflocallegislatures,calledsoviets,from 1990,theyearinwhichmajorreformsoflocalgovernmentwereintroduced,until1993,whenthesovietswereabolishedbypresidential decree.Atfirstglance,suchafocusmightnowseemmoreappropriate tothestudyofRussianhistory.However,ifthepoliticaltransformationunderwayinRussiasince1988isunderstoodasacontinuing processinwhichGorbachev'sperestroika,endinginlate1991,wasthe firstphase,andthedissolutionoftheoldsystembyYeltsinmarkedthe endofthesecond,thenananalysisofwhatwas(orwasnot)achieved inthesephasesbecomeshighlypertinent,bothforthosetryingto understandthepoliticaltransformationofRussiaandforpoliticalscientistswhowanttounderstandhowpoliticalsystemsbecomedemocratic.Inthehopeofcontributingsomethingtobothconcerns,this chapterwilladdresstworelated,althoughanalyticallydistinct,questions:TowhatextentdidlocallegislaturesinRussia,startingin1990, becomeinstitutionalized?Didtheseinstitutions,inthesameperiod, becomemoredemocratic?