Local government in Russia at a crossroad: The dynamics of constitutional doctrine and legal regulation
The article examines the specificity of the approach to local government in the Russian Federation in light of current changes in legal regulation of the institution, as well as the interpretation of the place and role of local government in the system of public authority, determined by the decisions of the Russian Constitutional Court. The authors maintain that despite the organizational and functional autonomy from the mechanism of state power declared in the Russian Constitution, local government should be considered as part of a unified system of public authority, since the opposite neither reflects the objective conditions of the socio-economic, political and legal development of the Russian state and society, nor find any historical confirmation or similarities in foreign experience. The affirmation of local government's place within a unified system of public authority presupposes a closer and well-coordinated interaction of the state and municipal levels in addressing issues of both local and national importance. The latter should also contribute to the positioning of local government as a standalone element of federative relations, which is important both for the development of municipal institutions themselves and federalism as a whole. At the same time, the authors stress that by virtue of its political and legal nature, local government requires the development of direct forms of democracy, involvement of citizens in solving local issues and the improvement of territories where citizens reside. Accordingly, the current professionalization of the governance mechanism at the general municipal level, with limited participation in the relevant processes of state representatives, should be accompanied with the development of forms of self-government and public participation at the local, submunicipal, level.