Date on Master's Thesis/Doctoral Dissertation


Document Type

Master's Thesis

Degree Name



Political Science

Committee Chair

Ziegler, Charles E.


Russia (Federation)--Politics and government, 1991-


Every state, regardless of its size, faces a problem of spatial organization and distribution of its power over territory, particularly in times of the formation of its statehood and the establishment of the system of governance. The territorial-administrative reform in modern Russia has taken an unprecedented scale over the last five years. Recollecting the experiences of the imperial Russia and the Soviet Union, Putin's reforms aim at elimination of a whole tier of Russia's federative units---autonomous okrugs---by merging them with adjacent regions. Arguably, the enlargement of Russian regions and the reduction of their number from the current eighty-nine would be socio-economically beneficial for regions, and would make Russia a more symmetrical, and thus a more governable federation. There appears to be no single clear rationale for the enlargement. Based on three case studies, I assess the political, economic, and demographic arguments for the regional enlargement in Russia, and draw conclusions whether the process would, as the current Russian government contends, indeed benefit the regions, or would it benefit the state, both the regions and the state, or neither. Assessing the regional enlargement in a qualitative and quantitative analysis, I characterize the process in terms of its top-down or bottom-up qualities, its implications for the regions, and its contribution to the symmetry of Russian federalism. Russia is a state in the making, and the analysis of regional enlargement is one of the linchpins of its development.