chapter  5
19 Pages

Governance and the types of political regimes in the ethnic regions of Russia

ByNIKOLAY PETROV

As Table 5.1 shows, at present, political systems in the ethnic regions are almost non-competitive with a very few centres of political influence. There are only seven regions where the level of political competition can be described as medium or high and only seven where there are two or more centres of political power. Out of these ten regions (there is understandable overlapping between two groups) only two regions have a share of the titular ethnic group of 10 per cent or lower – in other words, there is no visible connection between complexity of political organization from one side and ethnic composition from the other side. The general trend can hardly be described for the whole set of ethnic regions. Some of them in the last years are moving toward a more complex political system, e.g. Kalmykia and Yakutia, some are moving toward more simplicity, e.g. Chech­ nya and Chuvashia, and some are pretty much stable, e.g. Kalmykia and Dagestan. Expert evaluations presented have been done by a number of experts under the aegis of the Carnegie Moscow Center regional project led by Alexander Kynev and Nikolay Petrov. Grade 1, with regard to the number of centres of political influence, means an absolute dominance of a single centre – regional administration. Grade 1 ½ describes the situation, when there are some independent centres of influence besides the administration, although not comparable to a major player by influence and resources (just like 1 ½ party system compared to single party system). Two or more means existence of other significant centres of influence comparable by their resources – financial, organizational, and connections at the federal centre. There is a visible decline in public politics and political competition in the regions from the late 1990s to early 2000s. However, typology compares a region to other ones, not to its past. An imitative party system means total dominance of non­public practices, when the regional administration is a single significant political body with even the United Russia (UR) having no signs of autonomy at all. At Chukotka, for example, the UR doesn’t influence the administration at all with other parties being absent except for LDPR, which was formally established to present an ‘alternative’ in elections.