Cameron Ross
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Federalism under Putin
in Federalism and democratisation in Russia

This chapter examines Putin's radical reform of the federal system. It was Putin's election victories in 1999 and 2000 which paved the way for his audacious assault on the powers of the regional governors and his radical reform of the federal system. Whilst most students of Russian federalism support Putin in his quest to discipline unruly regional bosses, many have argued that the President's radical reform of the federal system may have ended up throwing the baby out with the bath water. Putin, it is argued, could have simply called for a more vigorous enforcement of existing executive powers. Putin faced the same dilemma as that of Gorbachev and Yeltsin before him, how to maintain the unity of the state without abandoning a commitment to democratisation.

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