Constitutional Asymmetry in Russia: Issues and Developments. A Country Study of Constitutional Asymmetry in the Russian Federation
Russia being one of the largest multinational federations in the world is an example of evolution of approaches to regional asymmetry within about century existence of federative relations. Starting from formal federalism with high centralization during Soviet times, the country has gone through the stage of highly decentralized asymmetrical federalism with huge powers of selected ethnical sub-national entities at early 90th of twentieth century and finally ended up with current approach to asymmetry as a formal constitutional instrument, however with quite a few tracks of it in practice. This chapter reviews history of asymmetry in Russia, identifies main characteristics of current asymmetry, which in practice is very close to symmetry and analyses its evolution. The author comes to the conclusion that even constitutional provisions permit to identify Russia as asymmetrical as well as symmetrical federation, political practice shows some tracks of asymmetry often based on economic differentiation and bargaining art of several sub-national entities.