Methodology: regression analysis (OLS, panel, time series); correlation analysis, principal component analysis, descriptive statistics, data envelopment analysis; expert evaluation.
Empirical base of research: social and economical statistics (Russian Federal State Statistics Service, Unified Interdepartmental Statistical Information System and Ministry of Finance); surveys concerned popular assessment of subnational governments performance in Russia (Russian Public Opinion Research Center and “Public Opinion” Foundation); electoral statistics (Central and subnational electoral committees in Russia and abroad); expert evaluations on current political decisions in Russian regions; laws and regulations; mass media and Internet.
Results of research: The research contributes to the development of the theories of democracy, federalism and inter-budgetary relations. Also there are some methodological improvements that facilitate the analysis of development and consequences of subnational political competition, i.e. new measurement of political competition using the latest developments in political science and powerful technique of data analysis, such as the principal component analysis. Additionally, a methodology for analyzing the regionalization/nationalization of Russia’s party system has been created. It allows scholars to conduct cross-subnational comparisons in that field. Some techniques for studying social and political effectiveness of the regional government in Russia are being improved by means of Data Envelopment Analysis. The research provides a new knowledge based on empirical data in the field of subnational policies. Within the study of electoral competition in gubernatorial elections in Russia (2012-2015) we revealed an incomplete match of strategies of federal government and governors. The federal government tends to provide clear electoral process to maintain the procedural legitimacy. The governors in contrast to federal government tend to minimize and suppress the competition. The growth of political competition in 2015 is associated with the increase in the claims to opposition to participate in the election system as well as with increase of the effectiveness of protest mobilization in a changing socio-economic situation. In the study of regional parliamentary elections, we also proved that the legitimating process fails due to low turnout and usually leads to electoral losses of systemic opposition. Gubernatorial elections give systemic opposition very limited opportunities but still integrate it into the system while leaving the systemic parties with more chances to get political positions in legislative bodies. The study of inter-regional competition for federal transfers showed a significant role of political factors. The most notable are: a) governors’ lobbying capacity of rich and especially the metropolitan regions; b) the impact of ethno-political factors. The analysis of the influence of political competition on the efficiency of the regional executives in Russia shows that though the influence of the political competition within hybrid Russian regional political regime is significant, it lacks some definite direction, as well as shows itself very selectively (mostly in health service and budgetary management) and is based upon weak social links, which is quite typical for partly institutionalized feedback and socio-political control channels.
Level of implementation, recommendations on implementation or outcomes of the implementation of the results: The results that concerned the political competition at subnational level can be used by The Presidential Administration of Russia in order to predict the level of stability and support of the authorities and political parties in the regions. Results of evaluating the performance of executive bodies are encouraged to be used by the Ministry of Economic Development, the Ministry of Development of the Far East, the Ministry for the Northern Caucasus Affairs and regional executive bodies.