Meeting of the Rural Settlements Chamber of the All-Russian Congress of Municipal Entities (ARCME)

On May 19, 2010, the first meeting of the Rural Settlements Chamber of the All-Russian Congress of Municipal Entities (ARCME) was held at the Council of Federation.  


That was an important event for rural municipal authorities and for the entire inter-municipal cooperation in Russia. It means that the federal authorities have recognized the entity which was established 7 years ago from “below” as the Association of Rural Settlements of the Russian Federation which purpose was to uphold the interests of villages. 

Such first association was initiated by regional associations of Astrakhan Region, Orenburg Region and Chelyabinsk Region. They called on the Congress of Municipal Entities of the Russian Federation to recognize the newly established entity as a member of the Congress and assist it in holding of the All-Russian Congress of Rural Settlements. However, that request was left unanswered. In the course of the municipal reform, such entities as the Association of Rural Settlements failed to win formal recognition and acquire any legal status in the system of inter-municipal cooperation. Now they have succeeded.  

The first meeting of the chamber was attended by leaders of rural settlements of 43 regions of Russia. They discussed the public policy’s guidelines and issues of legal regulation to ensure sustained development of rural areas. Participants approved the statute on the chamber and elected the chambers’ working bodies. Under the statute, members of the Chamber are delegates from such councils of municipal entities of constituent members of the Russian Federation as are members of ARCME and rural settlements’ leaders and deputies who put forward their candidatures on their own initiative. A. Mitin, Head of the Chernorechensk Rural Settlement of Orenburg Region was elected the Chairman of the Chamber. Eight persons were elected to the Presidium – one representative from each federal district. The Chamber’s work plan for the short-term prospect was approved. 

The meeting was addressed by S. Mironov, the Chairman of the Council of Federation who demonstrated in his speech a clear understanding of all the problems of rural settlements government. According to S. Mironov, Russian village should become a main point of domestic economic growth. However, at present such a process is hindered by a number of problems. The main one is a weak financial base. Due to disparity between local budgets’ revenues and expenditure powers, municipal authorities are deprived of real power on the spot and, most importantly, lack people’s confidence. Living conditions in villages remain unattractive. Shortage of skilled workers in rural settlements is getting more acute. 

A similar understanding of problems of rural settlements government was outlined by A. Petrikov, the State Secretary of the Deputy Minister of Agriculture of the Russian Federation. He reminded that the food supply security doctrine can be realized by rural areas within the framework of the federal agriculture development program. For that reason, the Ministry of Agriculture considers the Rural Settlements Chamber its main partner and ally. 

N.I. Mironova, PhD, Researcher of the Laboratory of Problems of Municipal Development participated in the meeting.