The basic principle of federalism is a clear distribution of powers between the center and regions with a certain political and legal independence.
The concept of federalism
The term federalism itself is derived from the Latin word feodus, meaning a sealed treaty or union. In modern society, federalism is understood as a form of government in which regions are state entities, and certain political rights are legally assigned to them, with the help of which regions can defend their interests before the center. The founder of federalism as a political theory is considered the little-known German philosopher Johannes Altusius, who first introduced the concept of federal popular sovereignty.
Federated states necessarily have two levels of government, of which one occupies a dominant position and is called the center, the subordinate level is represented in the federation by subjects.
The principles of federation are usually opposed to the so-called unitarianism - a clearly centralized state, where the vertical of power is built, and the possibilities of the regions are significantly limited. Nevertheless, although a federal state consists of different state formations (subjects), it constitutes a single integral state. There are two main models of federalism - cooperative and dualistic. The cooperative focuses on the complementarity of the subjects and the center - the example of Germany. And the dualistic model implies the idea of balance between the center and the subjects and a clear delineation of powers.
Is Russia a Federation?
According to the Constitution, our country is a federation, which is reflected in its name - the Russian Federation. The country is usually referred to as "asymmetric federations", where some subjects have more powers than others. For example, Russian regions, oblasts and territories have fewer powers than national republics. However, there is an opinion that Russia is a "pseudo-federation" - a political system where, under a legal federal structure, a unitary state, not developed to real federalism, actually operates.
In the Soviet Union, the RSFSR was considered a unitary republic-state with autonomies. In fact, now nothing has changed in its composition.
This is evidenced by the notorious "vertical of power" built by the president, under which the center gives strict instructions to the subjects, as well as the division of the country into districts, consisting of several subjects, authorized representatives of which are directly subordinate to the president.