Summary: Intergovernmental reforms in the Russian Federation: one step forward, two steps back? Is a critical analysis of Russia's intergovernmental reform program which began in the early 1990s. It assesses the effects of a broad range of reforms adopted over two tumultuous decades during which the Russian Federation experienced significant, and at times drastic, political regime changes, coupled with a similarly turbulent economic growth trajectory. This environment reshaped intergovernmental relations, requiring certain fiscal responsibilities to be delegated to the sub-national levels. These reforms, however, were not always accompanied by the kinds of administrative and political structures required to support a truly devolved system of intergovernmental fiscal relations. As this study indicates, in recent years there has been a tendency to recentralize some powers that had been granted to sub-national governments under earlier reforms, a trend that may call into question the future of fiscal decentralization in the federation. Moreover, the current global economic downturn has had a significant effect on Russia' economic growth, largely because of the country's overdependence on oil, gas, and mineral exports. It is likely that in the present economic climate the political regime will be inclined to further limit sub-national autonomy.
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