The Russian Society’s Confidence in the Local Governments as a Problem

Petukhov R.V.,

Cand. Sci. (Law), Senior Researcher, Center of the Comprehensive Social Studies, Institute of Sociology of the Federal Center of Theoretical and Applied Sociology of the Russian Academy of Sciences,

DOI: 10.17976/jpps/2017.06.05
ID of the Article: 5327

Rubric: Russia Today

For citation:

Petukhov R.V. The Russian Society’s Confidence in the Local Governments as a Problem. – Polis. Political Studies. 2017. No 6. P. 61-75 (In Russ.) . DOI:

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The article studies the causes of the crisis in local self-government. According to the author, the difficulties with the development of this political institution are related not so much to the lack of financial and human resources, as to the discrepancy between the theory of local self-government and the real practice of municipal government. As an argument in support of his hypothesis, the author cites research data from the Institute of Sociology of the Russian Academy of Sciences, indicating an extremely low level of trust in local authorities. These results are discordant to the theoretical notions of local self-government, as the power closest to ordinary citizens. The appeal to the concept of “trust” allows the author to link the negative attitude of society towards local self-government bodies with such factors as, firstly, the residents’ lack of confidence in the professionalism of these structures, secondly, the reduction in the number of municipal deputies and officials directly elected by citizens, and, finally, alienation of local authorities from ordinary citizens. The data of sociological research presented in the article show that for today the society does not perceive local authorities as “self-governing bodies”, but the theoretical concept “local self-government” is estimated rather positively so far. According to the author’s position, the state of democracy in the country exerts more influence on the attitude of society towards local self-government. The development of plebiscite factors in the political regime and the concentration of attention on the figure of the head of state change the attitude towards all other institutions. For public opinion, they become insignificant and insignificant. The author ends the article with the conclusion that local self-government can regain public confidence only after a democratic political culture and rights and freedoms are rooted in the country. Achieving these conditions will ensure the wide participation of citizens in the activities of local authorities. 

self-government; local authorities; trust; democracy; political institutions; political participation; civic engagement; accessibility of public authorities.

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Content No 6, 2017

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