The first elected President in the history of Russia, Boris Yeltsin, considered a positive center-periphery relationship so essential to democratic transition that he endorsed the controversial design of asymmetrical federalism: Russia would maintain the ethno-territorial divisions of the old Soviet Union while the center would negotiate bilateral autonomy treaties with individual regions. Despite concerns such a design had significant intrinsic flaws, the center hoped the treaties would meet the diverse range of regional preferences and needs, create local capability to solve local problems and form a more cooperative federal-regional partnership upon which to build democratic federalism. Though Russia already had a Federal Constitution and a Federation Treaty outlining in large degree center-periphery rights and obligations, the two documents were not in complete harmony with one another nor did they in total answer all regional concerns. As such, bilateral autonomy agreements came to be considered a pragmatic compromise: they would answer diverse regional problems more specifically while solidifying regional commitment to the transition process more generally.