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Abstract Federal Reform In Russia: Mergers of Federal Subjects Seongjin Kim The purpose of this study is to examine the general discussion of mergers of federal subjects and to explore the implication of such changes to federal relations in Russia. Under Putin ad-ministration, 'new' federal subjects have established as a result of a series of mergers of autono-mous okrugs into krais. Such a development will alter not only the basis of federal structure, but also federal political process in Russia. However, few studies were devoted to the question of federal mergers. This study includes a brief review of maximum and minimum programmes of federal mergers that have been suggested in various occasions. A discussion of principles that employed in the process of federal mergers also constitutes a main focus. Findings of this study lead us to a couple of conclusions. Firstly, current mergers have mainly targeted autonomous okrugs that are economically insufficient and where Russian popu-lation dominates titular nations. Secondly, mergers of autonomous okrugs may indicate the retreat of national-territorial principle which has long been a main basis of the Russian federal structure. If it is the case, economically weak republics where Russians constitute a majority may be the next target of a merger process. Finally, Putin maintains that the Russian govern-ment will respect a free will of people in the process of 'establishment of new subjects'. How-ever, such a commitment appears to be dependent on the political situation as showed in the nomination of governors. Although consensus on the key questions such as a 'magic' number of federal subjects and a way of establishing 'new' federal subjects has yet to be achieved, current changes suggest a retreat of national-territorial principle in the process of federal reform in Rus-sia.


Abstract Federal Reform In Russia: Mergers of Federal Subjects Seongjin Kim The purpose of this study is to examine the general discussion of mergers of federal subjects and to explore the implication of such changes to federal relations in Russia. Under Putin ad-ministration, 'new' federal subjects have established as a result of a series of mergers of autono-mous okrugs into krais. Such a development will alter not only the basis of federal structure, but also federal political process in Russia. However, few studies were devoted to the question of federal mergers. This study includes a brief review of maximum and minimum programmes of federal mergers that have been suggested in various occasions. A discussion of principles that employed in the process of federal mergers also constitutes a main focus. Findings of this study lead us to a couple of conclusions. Firstly, current mergers have mainly targeted autonomous okrugs that are economically insufficient and where Russian popu-lation dominates titular nations. Secondly, mergers of autonomous okrugs may indicate the retreat of national-territorial principle which has long been a main basis of the Russian federal structure. If it is the case, economically weak republics where Russians constitute a majority may be the next target of a merger process. Finally, Putin maintains that the Russian govern-ment will respect a free will of people in the process of 'establishment of new subjects'. How-ever, such a commitment appears to be dependent on the political situation as showed in the nomination of governors. Although consensus on the key questions such as a 'magic' number of federal subjects and a way of establishing 'new' federal subjects has yet to be achieved, current changes suggest a retreat of national-territorial principle in the process of federal reform in Rus-sia.