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

the 1991 Declaration of the Rights and Freedoms of Man and Citizen.

Boris Sergeevich Krylovs' paper deals with federalism and the human right of self-determination in the former U.S.S.R. It properly distinguishes the territorial-based federal systems of the U.S.A, Australia, Austria, Switzerland, and even to a certain extent the then Czechoslovakia from the federations based on identifiable nationalities like the U.S.S.R., the Russian Federation, and the then Yugoslavia. In nationality-based federal systems the contours of the right of self-determination may be seriously affected by immigration and emigration policies. Krylov's paper observes that the combination of federalism issues and heightened appreciation of self-determination rights helps to explain the confederative or commonwealth form taken by the CIS.

Zulfia M. Mirshakar's paper analyzes the language aspect of the human right to culture in the former U.S.S.R. With the breakup of the U.S.S.R., the legal predicate for the dominance of the Russian language was removed and an emotional tendency arose to replace Russian with other ethnic languages. The paper contains a fascinating examination of the struggles that regional and state governments have had in dealing with the status of the Russian language in relation to ethnic or other state languages. Formally and informally, important functions exist for the Russian language, especially in international affairs.

Norman I. Silber's paper analyzes the rights of humans as consumers. The federalism problem here is to decide to what extent federal or national governments should preempt local laws in order to better protect consumers without destroying valuable economic markets, goods, and services. The paper focuses on the preemption problems in the United States on such timely topics as food labeling, cigarette warnings, and automobile airbags.

Finally, the paper by Vern R. Walker considers the important functions and duties of government when humans are injured by accidents in the home, the workplace, hospitals, and in transportation (land, sea, and air). The problems in governmental terms involve the obligations of local or national government to prevent accidents and to treat and compensate victims when accidents do occur. Governments must also decide which members of society will bear how much of the financial and resource burdens of accident prevention and accident victims and compensation.


NOTES
1.
Universal Declaration of Human Rights, adopted by the UN General Assembly, December 10, 1948, UNGA Res. 217A (III), UN Doc. A/810, at 71 ( 1948).
2.
In addition to the Universal Declaration, the International Bill of Human Rights consists of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights done at New York, December 16, 1966, entered into force, March 23, 1976, UNGA Res. 2200 (XXI), 21 UN GAOR, Supp. (No. 16) 52, UN Doc. A/6316 ( 1967), reprinted in 6 International Legal Materials 368 ( 1967); the

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