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Gestalt Switch in Russian Federalism: The Decline in Regional Power under Putin

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Why did Russian governors unexpectedly acquiesce to centralizing reforms undertaken by Vladimir Putin? Interviews with regional and central politicians and an analysis of speeches during 1990–2009 reveal that interests alone cannot account for the presence or absence of governors' political action. Understanding governors' (in)action requires uncovering the grounds for its justification and legitimation. The enabling role of the discourse, fusing the ideas of democracy and federalism, propelled autonomous behavior on the part of regional elites. The shift in the dominant discursive frame that occurred in Russia under the leadership of Putin brought to prominence the idea of strengthening state power, thus making defiant and autonomy-seeking behavior by regional elites untenable.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 01 April 2013

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  • Comparative Politics is an international journal that publishes scholarly articles devoted to the comparative analysis of political institutions and behavior. It was founded in 1968 to further the development of comparative political theory and the application of comparative theoretical analysis to the empirical investigation of political issues. Comparative Politics communicates new ideas and research findings to social scientists, scholars, and students, and is valued by experts in research organizations, foundations, and consulates throughout the world.
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