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Local Legislative Process in Russia: Perspectives and Barriers

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The legislative process is an important tool of direct democracy for creating checks and balances on public authority. Making local laws is an essential function of the local government that is linked to direct communication between public officials and citizens. This paper sets out to evaluate the opportunities, constraints and challenges in the practices of local direct democracy in Russian municipalities, and to describe the frameworks and capacities that municipal authorities provide for citizens. The paper analyzes the political and legal circumstances for law-making initiatives at the local level and examines citizens’ activities in the local legislative process. The research question is whether citizens have the capacity and opportunity to participate in the local legislative process and to what extent barriers and challenges prevent them from doing so. To answer the research question the authors use methods of context analysis to study Russian legislation and municipal legal documents, a case study of several Russian municipalities and a survey with representatives of local communities in Tyumen, a Russian mid-sized city located in Western Siberia. The results of the study show a reluctance on the part of local residents to engage in the various aspects of direct democracy and a lack of the necessary skills, knowledge and willingness to participate in the initiative process. The results further show that the initiative process is frequently not well planned and lacks clear objectives, requirements and guidelines. The study concludes that seminars and professional training as well as roundtable workshops are effective ways to support local law-making initiatives. One promising step towards modernizing initiatives would be to organize them in e-forms. Many citizens demonstrate their ability to use electronic options that can expand the possibilities for their participation in the local legislative process.

About the Authors

Victoria Mamontova
Tyumen State University
Russian Federation

Victoria Mamontova – Associate Professor, Public Administration Department

6 Volodarskogo St., Tyumen, 625003

Elena Gladun
Tyumen State University
Russian Federation

Elena Gladun – Professor, Public Administration Department

6 Volodarskogo St., Tyumen, 625003


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For citation:

Mamontova V., Gladun E. Local Legislative Process in Russia: Perspectives and Barriers. Russian Law Journal. 2021;9(3):83-110.

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ISSN 2309-8678 (Print)
ISSN 2312-3605 (Online)