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

PART II
A COMPARATIVE OVERVIEW

Part II brings together a selection of papers that introduce questions of government structure in a comparative way. The inherent tensions in governmental authority between state sovereignty and the right of self-determination arise in a variety of contexts in the U.S.A. and the states of the former U.S.S.R. as well as around the world. This section addresses in a comparative way governance questions not only in the U.S.A. and the states of the former U.S.S.R. but also in other countries and regions around the world in recognition that any useful comparison of the U.S.A. and the states of the former U.S.S.R ultimately should be viewed in a global, comparative context.

Erik P. Hoffmann and Richard P. Nathan use the U.S. federal system as a model to illustrate their view that it is the relationship of a central government to diverse regions that is the key to analyzing any system of power sharing among government structures (in the U.S.A. between the federal government and the states). Among the comparative lessons for the states of the former U.S.S.R. that the U.S. model provides, according to Hoffmann and Nathan, are the need to weigh the economic, cultural, and political effects of changing government structures in Russia and in the CIS Here, a regional government structure may be needed to bridge any gaps between central and local authority.

Sarah F. Liebschutz and Barbara Jancar-Webster examine American federalism, both its success and its appeal for a government structure for the states of the former U.S.S.R., and conclude persuasively, however, that it is not a political framework that is readily transferable to the former U.S.S.R. The reasons offered for this conclusion revolve around insightful explorations of the proposition that the very factors that give "resilience and solidity to the U.S. federal system are absent in the Soviet case."

Vladimir A. Saveliev's paper focuses on the foreign policy aspects of government structures from Russian and CIS perspectives. He insightfully identifies issues that are the object of discussion and resolution in the states of the former U.S.S.R and in the U.S.A. today as much as they were in 1992. He correctly identifies the umbrella under which specific foreign policy issues are formulated for Russia as the revival of the Russian state (including a resolution of the socioeconomic crises) and the agreement of the world community (especially Western states including the U.S.A.) on the appropriate

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