Academic journal article Journal of Politics and Law

The Legal Concept of Liberal Reforms in Russia (through the Example of Federalism Reform and Higher Education Reform)

Academic journal article Journal of Politics and Law

The Legal Concept of Liberal Reforms in Russia (through the Example of Federalism Reform and Higher Education Reform)

Article excerpt

Abstract

The intensification of Russian citizens' political activities after December 2011 has simplified the process of political parties' registration and led to the creation of the Opposition Coordination Council. The analysis of the Council's functioning proves that it doesn't carries out the real coordination of all the opposition forces' actions. This is because the Council consists of politicians whose views differ too much. The impossibility of working out a common opposition strategy requires the development of a unified political program of opposition politicians who have similar convictions.

In these conditions the development of this program is needed for liberal politicians who mutually understand the necessity to build in Russia a democratic legal state, in which human rights would be observed. The article draws attention to some approximate structural elements of such a political program of the union of liberal parties. The author thoroughly analyzes two issues: federalism reform and education reform.

The revival of Russian federalism is supposed to include at least three lists of arrangements: renewal of budgetary federalism, i.e. the increase of regional budget revenues collected in its territory; political reorganization of regional managerial human resources including the revival of the institute of election of all governors and the determination of their performance quality characteristics regulated by the civil society. Third, this is the reform of the existing distribution of matters of competence and powers between the center and regions according to the sectoral factor. In this sense, the experience of the federative state of Canada can be used. The distribution of powers between the center and regions there is carried out not according to the sectoral factor, like in Russia, but according to the types of activity having either central or regional importance.

Education reform that is currently under way in Russia causes a series of negative consequences connected with the growth of educational process bureaucratization, reduction in financing for universities, their groundless enlargement, lack of objective criteria for evaluation of students' knowledge, and creation of the atmosphere of insecurity of the future. In this regard, the liberal concept involves the release of lecturers from paper work, election of state universities' rectors and rating system allowing taking into account the scientific and methodical contribution of each lecturer to the process of students' education, increase in financing for lecturers' salaries depending on their position in the higher educational institution's rating, and increase in financing for research activities.

Keywords: opposition, the Coordination Council, federalism, education, rating, protest, institution of higher education, efficiency

1. Introduction

Since December 2011 political and legal developments have taken place in the Russian Federation. A few years ago it was hard to even assume the possibility of their existence. Demonstrations of many thousand people standing for fair elections intensified the political life of the country and caused a series of repressive laws as well as tendencies among citizens toward association within the "non-system opposition". It led to the creation of the Opposition Coordination Council, i.e. a non-governmental political body created as a result of the election held on October 20-22, 2012.

In the meanwhile, the experience of the first months of the Coordination Council's activity showed that there is no unanimity within the non-parliamentary opposition. This is hardly surprising. Designed to coordinate political activities of all the non-parliamentary opposition forces, the Coordination Council involves 30 people which are on the "civil list". Along with this, left-wing, liberal and nationalist forces are represented by 5 persons from each party. As a result, in the Coordination Council there is always a variety of opposing opinions on any issue under discussion. …

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