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Federal and Unitary Systems Structure

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             The unitary and the federal forms of state regulations are the opposite ends of one form of state existence. Both of them have its own advantages and defects. To clear them up, its necessary to determine this methods of state structure.

             The unitary state-is the entire state formation consisting of administrative-territorial units which submit to the central  branches of power and do not posses the attributes of state independence.

            The unitary state has the following characteristics:

-it supposes the unique and commune for all the country legislative and judicial branches which execute the supreme management of state authorities;

Рthere  is only one constitution and legislative system  at  the territory of unitary state;

 -the parts of the state (regions, departments, counts) don’t posses sovereignty;

-all the international relations are executed by state authorities which represent the country at the  international areas;

– the unitary state has its own unique armed forces which are submitted to the central state authorities.

             The federation- is the voluntary union of before independent state formations into the one state.

            Hereby, the most common characteristics of federation are given:

-the territory of the federation consists of the territories of its subjects (states, republics, etc.)

-the legislative , executive and judicial branches of power belong to the federal authorities;

-the subjects of the federation has the right of composing its own constitution and formation of its own branches of power;

-there is a chamber in the parliament of the federation which represents the interests  of the subjects of the federation;

-the external political activities are carried out by the union federal authorities.

           Federation can be created according to the 2 principles: territorial and national one.

             The territorial principle is characterized by the superiority of the central power referring to the authorities of the members of the federation. The federation formed by national principle limits with the giving of sovereignty to its members.

             The unitary system is more simple than the federal one. The federal state has three levels of regulation: federal, level of sub-national units and  the local one. The unitary state has only two of them: common national and local.   The unitary state doesn’t depend of the fact of being centralized or not centralized . All the formations of sub-national units are submitted to the parliament and are its administrative departments. But on the other hand today the unitary system losses its advantages. It can be good during the period of industrialization or during wars, but it’s unable to consider a variety  of sub-nation’s economic, political and cultural factors. In the world of present days it’s necessary to find more flexible system.

             In the federal system the existence of two chambers permits to combine  the representation of the whole  country  with the territorial representation of its regions. But the federalism is at the same time political and social phenomenon and the problem of the sovereignty has a great significance in this case . There is a n opinion among the political scientists that its impossible to create the model of the federal state which would be satisfactory for all its members.The federal state as the state itself must have its own territory and sovereignty but at the same time it’s the commonwealth of the states  and has to consider their ambitions.

¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† Russia ‚Äďis the constitutional contractual federation since 1992. The supreme branch of legislative power in Russia is the Federal Assembly which consists of two chambers ‚Äďthe State Duma¬† and the Assembly of Federations. According to the constitution of Russia all its sub-units elaborate its legislative system according to the Constitutional Law of Russia. The sub-units of the Federation of Russia can‚Äôt ¬†leave the structure of the Federation at the will.

¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† Great Britain ‚Äďthe constitutional monarchy, is one of the typical examples of the unitary state. All the local administrations are submitted to the central power represented by to chambers and the¬† Senate. The main power is located in London and the rest of the counts is submitted to it.

¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† Lately, they say about becoming of Russia more unitary. The United States Union of Peace(1996) says: ‚Äúin the summer of 1991, the newly elected Russian president Boris Yeltsin told the regions to take “as much sovereignty as you can swallow‚ÄĚ implying that the federal government was ready to devolve many of its powers to regional authorities‚ÄĚ (n. p.).. ¬†The Russian Federation was formed by the national-territorial principle whose sub-units were considered to be independent states and its regions –¬† administrative-territorial units, but within rigid frames of the Russian Constitution . In November of 2002 there was a union on the changes to the law‚ÄĚ About general principles of organization¬† of legislative and executive authorities of sub-units of Russian Federation‚ÄĚ and it was spoken about the more rigid separation of powers between sub-units and Federation‚Äôs authorities. Also there were attempts to cancel the electivity of the governors of the republics ¬†and it was decided to make a limit for the electivity of the governors: they can be elected only twice. Besides, the Caucus¬† War influenced a lot to the formation of more unitary state, the control in many Caucus states¬† was strengthened¬† and powers of local authorities were weakened. Besides, there is a conflict between layers of power in Russia.

¬†¬†¬† ¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†The united State Institute of Peace(1996) says that¬† ‚ÄúThroughout most of 1993, the political scene in Russia was dominated by increasing conflict between the reform-oriented executive branch and the more conservative legislature. This conflict had a clear impact on the development of Russian federalism‚Ķ Both the president and the parliament vied for their support by allocating subsidies and other economic privileges, to the detriment of the nation’s financial stability. Under these circumstances, the problem of equality between republics and regions largely lost its importance as both republican and regional leaders, recruited mostly from the old Communist Party nomenklatura, asserted themselves as the federation’s supreme political arbiters.‚ÄĚ (n .p.)

             All this obligates the authorities  to make the state more unitary and bothers to creating of the really federal formation.

            Since the latest 90th  many intensive tendencies towards the  decentralization were noticed in Britain. A lot of power functions were given to local administrations.  Local authorities in Birmingham , Nottingham and some other cities got a  rather wide range of powers. The control of many branches of economic life ( taxes, payment of social grants) is going to be executed by local authorities mostly. The industrial development of Britain, its rather complicated financial system demands faster and more active regulation .

            The actual development of the state life demands a quick and fruitful reaction from the authorities, needs its own (more close) system of administration and the federal  model of society is more efficient in this case. On the other hand to execute efficiently the control of the activities of its sub-units the Federation has to keep the main branches of control in its hands. So, in the nearest future, the universal formula of co-existence of these two structures is to be found.


  1. The United States Institute of Piece.(1996). Sovereignty after Empire Self- Determination

                     Movements in the Former Soviet Union. Hopes and Disappointments: Case Studies. The  Russian Federation. Retrieved March 16, 2005, from http://usip.org

  1. Country studies. Russia.(2003). Retrieved March 18, 2005, from http://countrystudies.us
  2. Bigpedia.(2005). United Kingdom. Politics of the UK. Retrieved March 18, 2005, from


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