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Governance in Multi-Level Political Systems: Supranational Unions and Federal States (European Union, Eurasian Economic Union, Russian Federation)

Priority areas of development: humanitarian

Goal of research

One of the key characteristics of the modern global world is the emergence and spread of new forms and practices of governance in territorial political systems - states, supranational unions, coalitions, etc. At the same time, these systems become more complex and more diverse, their governance is fundamentally different from traditional forms of governance in unitary centralized states.

The research was generally devoted to governance practices in multi-level political systems in order to identify the existing constraints of mechanisms for coordinating the interests of actors in the political process; the cases were the Russian Federation, the European Union and the Eurasian Economic Union. We set the task of describing and explaining the practice of ensuring coordination, subordination and control in the field of governing the development of multi-level systems, as well as in forming a systematic explanation of cases of successes and failures during the implementation of specific policy courses.


  • The research is based on comparative analysis.
  • In the course of the project we applied a combination of qualitative and quantitative methods of political science, in particular, linear regressions, content-analysis, etc.

Empirical base of research

Empiric base of research included formation of original data sets (on European parliament and Russian governors).

Results of research

In the project we studied three different types of national and supranational multi-level political systems – Russian Federation, European Union and Eurasian Economic Union.

In the course of the study of multi-level governance in the European Union, we have made empirical distinction between activities of the deputies of the European parliament in their two roles: their role as national politicians defending national interests, and their role as supranational, European politicians. Besides that, with regard to the EU instruments of external governance vis-à-vis Russia in the framework of two actors interactions in the Common space of freedom, security and justice, it was proved that policy conditionality is more effective instrument of EU interests promotion (compared to network governance), but at the same time also more conflictual.

The study on the Eurasian Economic Union showed that for Russia as the strongest and most developed country in the post-Soviet space, bilateral cooperation through bargaining is more beneficial than participation in multilateral regional structures. Successful bilateral cooperation (deals) is also more preferable for Russia's partners in the post-Soviet space. The peculiarity of the multilateral compromise of the EAEU lies in the possibility for small countries participating in the project to conclude more profitable bilateral transactions with Russia.

The results of the conducted studies have demonstrated the coexistence of various models of inter-level relations in the Russian Federation. This leads us to assume, firstly, the presence of numerous and diverse sources of destabilization of the system, and secondly, the use of different ways of ensuring stability. It was proved that an important economic success is an important condition for maintaining and strengthening one’s own autonomy for the regions, ensuring the regional government with its own financing and thereby reducing the level of mandatory control by the federal center.

The study of the sources of stability of multi-level systems is a promising direction for further research of such kind of systems.

Level of implementation,  recommendations on implementation or outcomes of the implementation of the results

The results of the research can be used for lecturing on comparative political science and regional integration in bachelor and master programs, as well as recommendations for state authorities of the Russian Federation at federal and regional levels.


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