Rescaling space, recapturing power : the role of Russia's Federal Districts in Putin's recentralizing project
Author(s)Kaladiouk, Ksenia M
Role of Russia's Federal Districts in Putin's recentralizing project
Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Department of Urban Studies and Planning.
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In the course of Russia's history-as an imperial, Soviet and post-Soviet state-the central government has repeatedly used spatial interventions, such as the manipulation of internal borders, to strengthen control over its vast and unwieldy territory. The most recent spatial reconfiguration took place in 2000, when President Vladimir Putin created seven mega-regions, called the Federal Districts (FDs), as part of a "recentralizing" effort to draw power away from the regional level and reassert federal dominance over the nation. Although the initial consensus was that the Federal Districts would be a weak and short-lived phenomenon, they have proven to be an exceptionally resilient and effective new scalar construction within the Russian Federation. At its core, this work seeks to determine what accounted for the success and staying power of the FDs by using a historically and theoretically informed perspective. The primary theoretical lens that this thesis engages in its examination of the Federal Districts is that of rescaling. In brief, rescaling posits that a state's spatial organization is a key factor that influences-and is itself influenced by-the administrative level of authority (e.g. national, regional, local) at which a state's political power is concentrated and the scale (e.g. supranational, national, metropolitan) toward which a state's circuits of capital accumulation gravitate. Most frequently this paradigm has been used to analyze conditions within modern capitalist nations; here it is deployed in the context of a post-Soviet state. The thesis focuses on an examination of the FDs' role in the rescaling of political power, with an abridged discussion of the ensuing shifts in patterns of capital agglomeration. Following a brief theoretical primer on rescaling in Chapter 1, Chapter 2 considers the way in which Federal Districts fit within the legacy of space/power relations throughout Russian history. Chapter 3 contextualizes Putin's recentralizing agenda in the context of 1990s Russia and details the creation of the FDs. Finally, Chapter 4 uses anecdotes from the Far East Federal District to illustrate how the rescaling of power unfolded on the ground and where the Federal Districts sourced their legitimacy and resilience.
Thesis: M.C.P., Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Department of Urban Studies and Planning, 2014.Cataloged from PDF version of thesis.Includes bibliographical references (pages 67-70).
DepartmentMassachusetts Institute of Technology. Department of Urban Studies and Planning.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Urban Studies and Planning.