This book reassesses Putin's attempt to reverse the decentralization of power that characterised centre-regional relations in the 1990s, focusing on regional responses to Putin's federal reforms. It explains the decline of regionalism after 2000 in terms of the dynamics of regional boundaries, understood as the juridical boundaries which demarcate a region's territorial extent and its resources; institutional boundaries that sustain regional differences; and cultural boundaries that define the ethnic or technocratic principles on which a region could claim legitimate existence.
The book questions the conventional wisdom regarding the success of Putin's regime. It shows how regional governors responded not by attempting to deflect the reforms with outright resistance, but by mimicking Putin's centralisation of power at the regional level. In turn, this facilitated the homogenisation of regional political regimes and regional mergers. The book demonstrates how the reordering of regions advanced sporadically, how pockets of resistance persist, and how the potential for the revival of regionalism continues.
"Overall, the book produces a well-measured assessment of the results of Putin’s federal reforms revealing the inherent limits to the Kremlin’s attempts to control regional responses and cautioning against overly optimistic assessments of recent centralization efforts. Noting the remaining outlets for regionalist revival in Russia, Goode presents Russia’s center-periphery relations as more flexible and fluid than is commonly perceived based on more rigid assessments of Putin’s alleged success in centralizing Russia." - Gulnaz Sharafutdinova, Miami University of Ohio; Slavic Review, Spring 2013.
1. The Puzzling Decline of Regionalism in Russia 2. Regions, Regionalism, and Regional Boundaries 3. A Brief History of Russia’s Regional Boundaries 4. Putin’s Federal Districts and Regional Identities 5. Constitutions, Charters, and Institutional Boundaries 6. The Push for Regional Enlargement 7. Assessing the Boundaries Approach to Regionalism