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Solov'ev S.G. Conceptual and legal aspects of public hearings in the Russian Federation

Published in journal "Administrative and municipal law", 2016-10 in rubric "Administrative law and local self-government", pages 824-831.

Resume: The article considers the ideals and the legal aspects of the technologies, used in public hearings, which are the contemporary form of Russian municipal deliberative democracy. The author studies the state of conceptual, historical and legal grounds of public hearings as a form of an institutionalized dialogue, rational discourse, discussion, persuasion, argumentation and compromises between municipal authorities and local communities. Taking into account the practice of public hearings in different Russias municipalities, the author considers the corresponding basic ideas and problems of their organization; studies the legal aspects of technical problems, which can appear during public hearings; offers the ways to improve this public institution and forecasts the priority directions of its development. The study is carried out within the scientific project No 16-03-50015 of Russian Fund for the Humanities. The author derives from the presumption that the functioning of deliberative democracy should be based on the fundamental principles of the thousand-year practice of Russian social institutions. The author analyzes the logics and patterns of their development and the historical forms of Russian deliberative democracy (Veche, Kopa, Krug (meeting), zemsky sobor), which had been based on common principles of organization and realization. Based on the results of this analysis, the author attempts at analyzing their closest modern analog and formulating the proposals about the improvement of the current statutory framework of public hearings. The author outlines the following practical recommendations: It is necessary to extend the variations of forms of public hearings It might be reasonable to legislate the grounds for the refusal of public hearings organization It is necessary to regulate the grounds for second public hearings on the same question It might be reasonable to limit the representation of municipal and public officers in public hearings commissions It is necessary to distinguish between the concepts of the right to participate in public hearings and the right to speak in public hearings, and to assign the priority right to speak to the citizens of the municipal entity, representing the significant territorial, social or professional groups of local population, widely supported and respected. Based on the public hearings practice, it might be reasonable to legislate the rules of defining the time and the place of public hearings. It is necessary to prohibit the organization of public hearings on several issues or objects, located in different parts of the municipal entity, at the same time, by the same participants. It might be reasonable to legislate the prohibition of voting on the issues, brought up for public hearings, aimed at defining the results of public hearings in the form of recommendations, reflecting the opinion of the majority of the participants of public hearings. It is necessary to formalize and clarify the reasons for the results of public hearings regarding or ignoring by local authorities or officials.

Keywords: organization of public hearings, forms of local government, technologies of public hearings, municipal dialogue, local government, ideals of public hearings, public hearings, deliberative democracy, practice of public hearings, development of public hearings

DOI: 10.7256/1999-2807.2016.10.20309

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