Government Structures in the U.S.A. and the Sovereign States of the Former U.S.S.R: Power Allocation among Central, Regional, and Local Governments

By James E. Hickey Jr.; Alexej Ugrinsky | Go to book overview
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21
Elements of Federalism in Relations Between Regional and Local Authority During the Perestroika Period in the U.S.S.R. (as Exemplified by Siberia)

Irina A. Vekshina

To establish such a system for the given people--with its geography, history, traditions, and psychology--that would lead to its flowering, not its degeneration.

A. I. Solzhenitsyn
(Rebuilding Russia)

The state-regional organization of the U.S.S.R has been and continues to be one of the most complex, multi-level systems in the world. Its vast expanses and the specific structural features of the system of Soviets left their mark on the territorial organization of state authority.

The state (gosudarstvennyy) level is the highest level of organization. There are three types of states: the U.S.S.R., the union republic, and the republic within a union republic (in the RSFSR). The middle--regional--level is represented by krays (territories), 1 oblasts (regions), 2 and autonomous oblasts and autonomous okrugs (areas). 3 The lowest--local--level includes rayons (districts), cities, settlements (poselki), village Soviets (sel'sovety), 4 and city rayons (rayony v gorodakh). This level also has its own hierarchy. Rayons combine settlements, village Soviets, and cities of rayon jurisdiction (goroda rayonnogo podchineniya); the largest cities are divided into rayons and incorporate settlements and village Soviets.

Notwithstanding the great complexity of state-regional organization, the system has three principal levels: the state, the region, and the territory that is to be self-governing (samoupravlyayemaya territoriya). The practice of state structure (gosudarstvennoe stroitel'stvo) shows that each of these three levels has its own inviolable administrative territories. In other words, the division of powers also exists at the territorial level. Authority is divided into national, regional, and local. Under these conditions, it is very important to find a model

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