In December 1993 Russia ratified its first post-communist Constitution which in Article 1 boldly proclaimed that it was ‘a democratic federative rule of law state with a republican form of government’. However, there are now major concerns over the current regime’s commitment to the principles of federalism and democracy. Since the inauguration of Vladimir Putin as Russian President in May 2000 federalism has come under attack and we have witnessed a concerted effort to rein in the power of the regional governors and presidents.