Cover Page

Cite item


The Article is devoted to justification of the fact that the federalism has a number of features, which are common with the characteristics of liberal democracy. The author proves that both of these phenomena represent the political forms of the organization of society developed by the Western Euro-pean and North American political and legal cultures. The interrelation between federalism and democ-racy is traced in the western legal and political cultures at the conceptual, structural and functional lev-els, these phenomena are caused by typological specifics of the western societies. That means that the diffusion of the public power, competition of social groups, development of institutes of civil society are internally immanent to western political and legal cultures. The integrating elements of federalism are provided with its consideration in three main aspects - as the structurally functional principle characterizing society and the public power, as the way of the political and territorial organization of the state assuming a combination of elements of centralization and decentralization and as a process, characterizing society in aspect of its democratization. Representatives of the American and European political and legal science of the second half of the 20 century came to a conclusion that formation of the democratic state and realization of the princi-ples of federalism are impossible in societies where ideological opposition, lack of uniform political and legal culture, differentiation of society on religious, ethnic, social and to other principles takes place. In their aspiration to solve a problem of theoretical justification of a possibility of implementation of the principles of liberal democracy and federalism in any society, in any cultural and historical condi-tions, the ideologists of liberal democracy go for modification of their concepts. As an example the idea of consociation democracy is considered as some kind of «social dimension of federalism». However, despite such attempts, it is necessary to recognize that in the societies where the political power was in-stitutionalized in others, than in Europe and North America, historical conditions, where in a basis of relationship between the individual, societies and the state lie other principles, where liberalism and lib-eral democracy as concepts weren't a product of the society, and have been introduced from the outside, the principles of federalism in their western, liberal and democratic understanding are inapplicable because of lack of objective social, economic, political, ideological and cultural prerequisites to their real-ization.

About the authors

Vladimir M Platonov

RUDN University

Email: platonov_vm@rudn.university
Vladimir M. Platonov, Candidate of Legal Sciences, Head of the Department of Political Analysis and Government, Faculty of Humanitarian and Social Sciences, RUDN University. 10/2, Miklukho-Maklaya st., Moscow, Russia, 117198


  1. Adeney, K. (2017) Does Ethnofederalism Explain the Success of Indian federalism? India Review. 16(1), 125-148. Available from: doi: 10.1080/14736489.2017.1279933.
  2. André, J. G. (2017) American Lessons: Legitimacy, Federalism and the Construction of a European Compound Polity. European Politics and Society. 18(3), 333-347. Available from: doi: 10.1080/23745118.2016.1231451.
  3. Arnold, T. & Stadelmann-Steffen, I. (2017) How Federalism Influences Welfare Spending: Belgium Federalism Reform through the perspective of the Synthetic Control Method. European Journal of Political Research. 56(3), 680-702. Available from: doi: 10.1111/1475- 6765.12196.
  4. Benz, A. & Sonnicksen, J. (2017) Patterns of Federal Democracy: Tensions, Friction, or Balance between Two Government Dimensions. European Political Science Review. 9(1), 3-25. Available from: doi: 10.1017/S1755773915000259.
  5. Chryssochoou, D. N. (1998) Federalism and Democracy Reconsidered. Regional and federal studies. 8(2), 1-20. Available from: doi: 10.1080/13597569808421048.
  6. Dahl, R. A. (2000) On Democracy. Translated from English by A.S. Bogdanovskii. Moscow, Aspekt Press. (in Russian) Даль Р. О демократии / пер. с англ. А.С. Богдановского. М. : Аспект Пресс, 2000.
  7. Duchacek, I. (1986) The Territorial Dimension of Politics within, among and across Nations. Boulder, Westview Press.
  8. Elazar, D. J. (1987) Exploring federalism. Tuscaloosa, University of Alabama Press.
  9. Elazar, D. J. (1994) Federalism and the way to peace. Kingston, Institute of Intergovernmental Affairs.
  10. Elazar, D. J. & Kincaid, J. (eds.) (2000) The Covenant Connection: from Federal Theology to Modern Federalism. New York, Lexington Books. Available from: doi: 10.1093/jcs/44.1.172.
  11. Fabbrini, S. (2017) Intergovernmentalism in the European Union. A Comparative Federalism Perspective. Journal of European Public Policy. 24(4), 580-597. Available from: doi: 10.1080/13501763.2016.1273375.
  12. Forsyth, M. (1994) Federalism and Confederalism. In: Brown, C. (ed.) Political Restructuring in Europe. Ethical Perspectives. New York, Routledge, pp. 50-68.
  13. Forsyth, M. (ed.) (1989) Federalism and Nationalism. Leicester, Mass., Leicester University Press.
  14. Fossum, J. E. & Jachtenfuchs, M. (2017) Federal Challenges and Challenges to Federalism. Insights from the EU and Federal States. Journal of European Public Policy. 24(4), 467-485. Available from: doi: 10.1080/13501763.2016.1273965.
  15. Goelzhauser, G. & Rose, S. (2017) The State of American Federalism 2016-2017: Policy Reversals and Partisan Perspectives on Intergovernmental Relations. Publius. 47(3), 285-313. Available from: doi: 10.1093/publius/pjx038.
  16. Kalu, J. O. & Bing, D. (2016) Implication of Federalism in 'Federal' Related Political Institutions: A Conceptual Analysis. Perspectives on Federalism. 8(3), E45-E68. Available from: doi: 10.1515/pof-2016-0016.
  17. Keating, M. (2017) Europe as a Multilevel Federation. Journal of European Public Policy. 24(4), 615-632. Available from: doi: 10.1080/13501763.2016.1273374.
  18. Kostakopoulou, D. (2017) What Fractures Political Unions? Failed Federations, Brexit and the Importance of Political Commitment. European Law Review. 42(3), 339-352.
  19. LeÓn, S. & Orriols, L. (2016) Asymmetric Federalism and Economic Voting. European Journal of Political Research. 55(4), 847-865. Available from: doi: 10.1111/1475-6765.12148.
  20. Lijphart, A. (1969) Consociational Democracy. World politics. 21(2), 207-225. Available from: doi: 10.2307/2009820.
  21. Lijphart, A. (1990) The Power-Sharing Approach. In: Montville, J. V. (ed.). Conflict and peacemaking in multiethnic societies. Lexington, Lexington books.
  22. Mironyuk, M. G. (2008) Federalizm i demokratiya [Federalism and Democracy]. Politicheskie sistemy i politicheskie kul'tury [Political systems and political cultures]. Moscow, MGIMO (U) MID Rossii. (in Russian) Миронюк М.Г. Федерализм и демократия // Политические системы и политические культуры. М. : МГИМО (У) МИД России, 2008.
  23. O'Driscoll, D. (2017) Autonomy Impaired: Centralisation, Authoritarianism and the Failing Iraqi State. Ethnopolitics. 16(4), 315-332. Available from: doi: 10.1080/17449057.2015.1086126.
  24. Schleicher, D. (2017) Federalism and state democracy. Texas Law Review. 95(4), 763-820. Schwarz, P. (2017) Federalism and Horizontal Equity across Switzerland and Germany: a New Rationale for a Decentralized Fiscal Structure. Constitutional Political Economy. 28(2), 97-116. Available from: doi: 10.1007/s10602-017-9234-1.
  25. Shaikhutdinova, G. R. (2017) Enhanced Cooperation in Federal States: Democracy through Asymmetry. Public Administration Issues. (5), 72-82. Available from: doi: 10.17323/1999- 5431-2017-0-5-72-82.
  26. Stepan, A. (1999) Federalism and Democracy: Beyond the U.S. Model. Journal of Democracy. 10(4), 19-34. Available from: doi: 10.1353/jod.1999.0072.
  27. Thorlakson, L. (2017) Representation in the EU: Multi-Level Challenges and New Perspectives from Comparative Federalism. Journal of European Public Policy. 24(4), 544-561. Available from: doi: 10.1080/13501763.2016.1273373.
  28. Tillin, L. & Pereira, A. W. (2017) Federalism, Multi-Level Elections and Social Policy in Brazil and India. Commonwealth and Comparative Politics. 55(3), 328-352. Available from: doi: 10.1080/14662043.2017.1327928.

Copyright (c) 2017 Platonov V.M.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

This website uses cookies

You consent to our cookies if you continue to use our website.

About Cookies