Are Intergovernmental Transfers in Russia Equalizing?
Since the break-up of the Soviet Union in 1991, the 88 regions of the Russian Federation have enjoyed increasing autonomy, and by 1994 almost half of all budgetary expenditure in Russia was spent at the regional level. This paper examines the system of transfers which has developed in Russia over the last few years and asks how far it has succeeded in making up for regional revenue disparities. Transfers seem to be directed in broadly the right direction before and after the introduction of the formula mechanism: transfers are higher to regions with greater needs. The bad news, however, is that the impact of the transfers has been minimal. Lower revenue regions may have received more in transfers than higher revenue regions, but not nearly enough to offset the difference in revenue.