In 2002, the Kozak Commission drafted a new law, ‘On the Principles of Organizing Local-Self Government in the Russian Federation’, which was ratifi ed by the Duma on 16 September 2003 and signed by the president on 6 October.1 The 2003 Law was originally scheduled to come into force on 1 January 2006 but, in October 2005, the Duma passed legislation postponing full implementation until 2009; that is, until after the completion of the 2007-8 cycles of parliamentary and presidential elections.