In May 2000 the newly elected president Vladimir Putin introduced federal reforms that entailed a change of perspective on federalism. The main thrust of the reforms involved centralisation and removal of all legal asymmetries that hitherto had permeated the Russian federal system. Earlier attempts during the 1990s to redistribute powers in favour of the Federal Government had failed. Now such highly controversial policies were suddenly accepted or even hailed. The relations between federal and regional authorities appeared to have become less confrontational and fragmented than during the Yeltsin era. This study analyses the development of Russian intergovernmental relations and federalism from Yeltsin to Putin from an ideational perspective. It argues that the way in which federalism is interpreted and conceptualised by governmental actors (federal paradigms) is an important reason why intergovernmental relations vary across and within federal systems. The book also offers a perspective on why and how such federal paradigms arise and fade away. The book should be useful for scholars and students interested in intergovernmental relations, federal systems, and Russian politics.