Cameron Ross
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Federalism and constitutional asymmetry
in Federalism and democratisation in Russia

This chapter discusses the development of constitutional and political asymmetry in the Yeltsin era. In Russia, there was little evidence of consensus and compromise in the drafting of its constitution. Instead, the foundations of Russian constitutionalism were forged out of conflict and coercion, and the president's constitution was largely imposed on a weak and highly divided society, still reeling from the shock of the violent dissolution of the Russian parliament. Moreover, the parliament never discussed the version of the constitution that was submitted to the voters for ratification, and thus the chance for constitution-making to play a focal role in building consensus for democratic state power was lost. In conclusion, the bilateral treaties have led to a situation, whereby some poor regions are totally dependent on the centre and no real federal relations exist whilst a second stronger group has the trappings of federalism.

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