CCR №1 (140) 2021
Public hearings as an institution of deliberative democracy in major Russian and American cities

The full text of the article is available only in Russian.

Abstract

Currently, public hearings are one of the most widespread forms of deliberative municipal democracy in Russia. This high level of demand, combined with critique of legal regulations and the practices for bringing this system to reality — justified, in the meantime, by its development (for example, by the Agency for Strategic Initiatives and the Public Chambers of the Russian Federation) of proposals for the correction of corresponding elements of the legal code — make both the study of Russian experiences in this sphere and comparative studies of legal regulations and practical usage of public hearings in Russia and abroad extremely relevant. This article is an attempt to make a contribution to this field of scientific study. If the appearance of public hearings in Russia as an institution of Russian municipal law is connected with the passing of the Federal Law of 6 October 2003 No.131-FZ, “On the general organisational principles of local government in the Russian Federation,” then in the United States, this institution has existed since the beginning of the 20th century, with mass adoption beginning in the 1960s. In this time, the United States has accumulated significant practical experience in the use of public hearings and their legal formulation. Both countries are large federal states, with their own regional specifics and diversity, the presence of three levels of public authority and different principles of federalism, which cause differences in the legal regulation of municipal public hearings. For this reason, this article undertakes a comparative legal analysis of Russian and American experiences of legal regulation and practical use of public hearings, on the example of several major municipalities — the cities of Novosibirsk, Nizhny Novgorod, Voronezh and New York, Los Angeles, and Chicago. A comparison of laws influencing the public hearing processes in these cities is advisable, given the colossal growth in the role of city centers in the industrial and post-industrial eras. Cities in particular are the primary centers for economic growth, the spread of innovations, progressive public policy and the living environment for the majority of both Russian and American citizens. The cities under research are one of the largest municipalities in the two countries by population, and on such a scale, the problem of involving residents in solving local issues is especially acute. In this context, improving traditional institutions of public participation is a timely challenge for the legislator, and the experiences of these cities are worth describing. The unique Russian context for legal regulations of public hearings involves the combination of overarching federal law and specific municipal decrees that regulate the hearing process. There are usually two municipal acts regulating public hearings on general issues of the city district (charter, budget, etc.) and separately on urban planning. In the United States, the primary regulation of public hearings is assigned to the state and municipality level, with a whole series of corresponding laws and statutes; meanwhile, methodological recommendations play a specific role in the organisation of hearings, which are issued by the state department of a given state. It is proposed that regulating the corresponding relationships at the federal subject level will permit a combination of the best practices of legal administration with local nuances, thereby reinforcing the guarantee of the realization of civil rights to self-government. There are other features in the process of organizing and conducting public hearings in the United States, which, as shown in the article, can be perceived by Russian lawmakers as well in order to create an updated construct of public discussions at the local level.

About the author:
Andrey Fursov — Ph.D. Student, Higher School of Economics, Moscow, Russia

Citation: Fursov A. (2021) Publichnye slushaniya kak institut deliberativnoy demokratii v krupneyshikh munitsipalitetakh Rossii i SShA [Public hearings as an institution of deliberative democracy in major Russian and American cities]. Sravnitel’noe konstitutsionnoe obozrenie, vol.30, no.1, pp.59–83. (In Russian).

References

Aleksandrov A.A., Tarbeeva I.S. (2016) Grazhdanskoe uchastie v mestnom samoupravlenii [Civil participation at local government]. Upravlencheskoe konsul’tirovanie, no.12, pp.63–71. (In Russian).

Arnstein S. (1971) Eight Rungs on the Ladder of Citizen Participation. In: Cahn E.S., Passett B.A. (eds.) Citizen Participation: Effecting Community Change, New York: Praeger, pp.69–91.

Baker W.H., Addams H.L., Davis B. (2005) Critical Factors for Enhancing Municipal Public Hearings. Public Administration Review, vol.65, no.4, pp.490–499.

Cole R.L., Caputo D.A. (1984) The Public Hearing as an Effective Citizen Participation Mechanism: A Case Study of the General Revenue Sharing Program. American Political Science Review, vol.78, no.2, pp.404–416.

Cooke M. (2000) Five Arguments for Deliberative Democracy. Political Studies, vol.48, no.5, pp.947–969.

Farkas K.R.H. (2013) Power and Access in the Public Hearings of City Council Meetings. Discourse & Society, vol.24, no.4, pp.399–420.

Grissom J.A., Harrington J.R. (2013) Local Legislative Professionalism. American Politics Research, vol.41, no.1, pp.76–98.

Kholopov V.A. (2015) Effektivnost’ organizatsionno-pravovogo regulirovaniya provedeniya publich­nykh slushaniy kak faktor obespecheniya legitimnosti resheniy organov mestnoy vlasti [Efficiency of organizational-law regulation of carrying out of public hearings as a factor in ensuring legitimacy of decisions of agencies of local power]. Gosudarstvennaya vlast’ i mestnoe samoupravlenie, no.7, pp.20–24. (In Russian).

King Ch.S., Feltey K., O’Neill Susel B. (1998) The Question of Participation: Toward Authentic Public Participation in Public Administration. Public Administration Review, vol.58, no.4, pp.317–326.

Kozyreva L.D. (2015) Publichnye slushaniya kak institut grazhdanskogo obshchestva: problemy organizatsii i provedeniya [Public hearings as institute of civil society: problems of the organization and realization]. Upravlencheskoe konsul’tirovanie, no.3, pp.116–122. (In Russian).

Medvedev I.R. (2016) Problemy osparivaniya publichnykh slushaniy (na primere Moskvy) [Problems of contesting public hearings (on the example of Moscow)]. Arbitrazhnyy i grazhdanskiy protsess, no.1, pp.57–64. (In Russian).

Mersiyanova I., Korneeva I. (2017) Publichnye slushaniya kak forma uchastiya naseleniya v mestnom samoupravlenii: faktory vovlechennosti [Public hearings as a form of public participation in local government: factors of involvement]. In: XVII Aprel’skaya mezhdunarodnaya nauchnaya konfe­rentsiya po problemam razvitiya ekonomiki i obshchestva [XVII April International Scientific Conference on Economic and Social Development], Moscow: Izdatel’skiy dom Vysshey shkoly ekonomiki, pp.277–285. (In Russian).

Middendorf G., Busch L. (1997) Inquiry for the Public Good: Democratic Participation in Agricultural Research. Agriculture and Human Values, vol.14, no.1, pp.45–57.

Rudenko V. (2003) Pryamaya demokratiya: modeli pravleniya, konstitutsionno-pravovye instituty [Direct democracy: models of government, constitutional and legal institutions], Ekaterinburg: Ural’skoe otdelenie Rossiyskoy akademii nauk. (In Russian).

Ryzhenkov A. (2018) Printsip uchastiya grazhdan i ikh ob’edineniy v osushchestvlenii gradostroitel’noy deyatel’nosti: teoriya i praktika [The principle of participation of citizens and their associations in urban planning: theory and practice]. Gumanitarnye i yuridicheskie issledovaniya, no.2, pp.169–176. (In Russian).

Shugrina E. (2019) Publichnye slushaniya i obshchestvennye obsuzhdeniya kak instrument vyyavle­niya mneniya naseleniya po voprosam gorodskogo razvitiya [Public hearings and public discussions as an instrument of the opinion of the population about urban development issues]. Gradostroitel’noe pravo, no.4, pp.30–34. (In Russian).

Tamazov Z.G. (2007) Publichnye slushaniya kak forma osushchestvleniya naseleniem prava na mestnoe samoupravlenie: Avtoref. dis. … kand. yurid. nauk [Public hearings as a form of exercise by the population of the right to local self-government: Abstract of a dissertation … candidate of legal science], Volgograd. (In Russian).

Trofimova I.N. (2012) Effektivnost’ mestnogo samoupravleniya v Rossiyskoy Federatsii i problema grazhdanskogo uchastiya [The effectiveness of local government in the Russian Federation and the problem of civic participation]. Ars Administrandi, no.1, pp.55–63. (In Russian).

Walters L.C., Aydelotte J., Miller J. (2000) Putting More Public in Policy Analysis. Public Administration Review, vol.60, no.4, pp.349–359.

Zakharov I.V. (2019) K voprosu o sushchestve publichnykh slushaniy i obshchestvennykh obsuzhdeniy [On the issue of substance of public hearings and public discussions]. Munitsipalitet: ekonomika i upravlenie, vol.27, no.2, pp.91–98. (In Russian).

Zuykina A.S., Nikitina V.L. (2018) Publichnye slushaniya: protsedurnye pravila i rezul’taty primeneniya (na primere goroda Permi) [Public hearings: procedural rules and results (based on the example of Perm city)]. Ars Administrandi, vol.10, no.3, pp.502–518. (In Russian).

Issue articles