Institute of Sociology
of the Federal Center of Theoretical and Applied Sociology
of the Russian Academy of Sciences

Power in Small Russian Towns: Models of Interactions Between the Legislative and Executive Branches of Local Government



Power in Small Russian Towns: Models of Interactions Between the Legislative and Executive Branches of Local Government
ISSN 1881-038

Posted on site: 06.11.15

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Abstract

Using data collected in 2011-2014 in a district of the Perm region and a small town in the Ivanovo region, we study the processes of the interaction between the legislative and executive branches of local government. We find that in both cases the local representative bodies possess no real power compared to the local administrations. The differences between the communities in question are in the composition of executive bodies, the power resources they possess, and the methods of influence they exercise. Both mayors and appointed city-managers can be the leaders of the executive bodies, but their leadership depends less on the formal institutional environment, than on their personal characteristics. We identify four types of interaction between the branches of local government: (1) dominance based on coercion, (2) covert manipulation, (3) dominance based on bargaining, (4) dominance in confrontation. The first case refers to the situation where deputies completely depend on the city-manager, and he or she does not even need to directly interfere with the functioning of the representative body since all the right decisions are produced by default. In the second and third cases such dependence is less obvious, and the leaders of the local executive bodies have to be more actively involved in the process of local decision-making: they have to make use of various resources and techniques (manipulation and bargaining) to influence local deputies. In the last case, the situation is complicated by a persistent cleavage within the local political and administrative elite, which in turn poses a threat to the dominance of the leader.