The most recent round of financial and political crises in Russia serve to underscore the growing power shift between the federal government in Moscow and the 89 units that comprise the Russian Federation.
What follows is a brief examination of the formal and informal processes through which expanding spheres of political and economic autonomy have devolved to the Russian provinces. While these mechanisms include bilateral negotiations and the signing of bilateral treaties and agreements with the center, a rather striking amount of the autonomy gained by the provinces over the last several years has been simply taken rather than negotiated and delegated by Moscow. The weakness of the federal government under Yevgeniy Primakov presents a new opportunity for regional governments to reassert themselves politically and economically. After discussing how regions have gained increased autonomy in recent years, I conclude by outlining some of the possible consequences for Russian state integration, and future political and economic development. [...]