Social Structure and Political Tenets of the New Branch of the Russian Regional Elite
The new regional elite in Russia is comprised of the representatives of the legislative branch of the regional, territorial (krai), and republican governments. These officials were elected (in this sense, the term "elite," as it applies to the legislators, signifies a select or an elected body) during the first half of 1994 by open or secret ballot as stipulated by the provisions of the Constitution of the Russian Federation, adopted in 1993.
Certainly, these developments represent an entirely new phenomenon in the history of the country. While local legislative bodies operated prior to the adoption of the new constitution, in effect members of these institutions were not elected but appointed by the party organs -- the true authority in the USSR. Moreover, the legislative branch was not truly such because it was artificially intertwined with the executive branch within the Soviets. While voter turnout was not high, the recently held local elections to the legislature created, for the first time in Russia's history, a government branch dedicated to legislating at the regional level. As an affirmation of their newly acquired power, the local legislative branches are empowered to 1) oversee the operations of the regional administration; and 2) ratify the regional budget.
The same key functions are assigned to state legislatures in the United States as well as other local jurisdictions in democratic countries. Another feature shared by the U.S. state legislatures and the elected regional councils in Russia is the size of the local legislative bodies as determined by the regions themselves.
The scope of regional legislation depends on the membership of the legislature, which, in turn, is defined by the deputies' social and political views. This essay examines these two phenomena. The research