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Statistics: Territory - 17.075.000 sq.km, population - about 147.200.000 (Russians - 83%), capital - city of Moscow (population 8.900.000).
Status: 1922 to 1991 - a republic of the USSR. Since December, 12, 1991 - independent state. UN member, UN Security Council permanent member (succesor of the USSR).
Official name: Till December, 25, 1991 - Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic (RSFSR). Since December, 25, 1991 - Russian Federation.


Constitution of Russian Federation was adopted at the December, 12, 1993 referendum.
Laws of RSFSR (Russian Federation), which were in force before the Constitution came into force, are applied to the extent that they do not conflict with the new Constitution. All USSR international treaties and several laws of the USSR that are registered at the Ministry of Justice are in force on the territory of RF.
President of the RF may issue normative decrees (=edicts=ukases) including decrees on the matters that should be regulated by laws - until the adoption of laws.
According to the new Constitution each region (=subject=member=constituent entity) of Russian Federation (not only republics as before) has its own laws and Fundamental law: Constitution - for republics, Ustav (Charter) - for other regions.


President of the Russian Federation - Vladimir Putin: acting President since December, 31, 1999; elected the President on March, 26, 2000; assumed office on May, 7, 2000. Former President Boris Yeltsin was elected by universal suffrage for 5-years term on June, 12, 1991, assumed office on July, 10, 1991. Re-elected for the 4-years term on July, 3, 1996, assumed office on August, 10, 1996. Whether the powers of the President are ceased before the end of his term, the duties of President are temporarily delegated to the Chairman of the Government. Elections of new president should me held within 3 months since the early termination of presidential office.
Administration of the President acts as his apparatus (machinery). Head of Administration - Alexandr Voloshin (appointed on March, 19, 1999, re-appointed on December, 31, 1999).
  • The Security Council is formed and headed by President. Till 1993 it was a coordination body including leaders of executive and legislative power. After adoption of the 1993 Constitution exists as the President's consultative body until the adoption of the new law about its status. The secretary of the Security Council - Sergey Ivanov (appointed on November, 15, 1999).

  • President of the Russian Federation: http://president.kremlin.ru/
  • Presidential Administration: http://www.gov.ru/
  • Security Council: http://www.scrf.gov.ru/

    The parliament - Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation - consists of 2 chambers.
    1. The Council of the Federation - 178 members (representatives of legislative and executive branches of power of the regions of the Federation). Formed without elections (ex officio) on January, 23, 1996 for unlimited term. Chairman of the Council of the Federation - Yegor Stroyev (Our Home - Russia).
    2. The State Duma - 450 deputies (225 elected in single-mandate districts by the sistem of relative majority, 225 elected by federal lists of electoral associations and blocs). State Duma of the third convocation (also called seventh State Duma) elected on December, 19, 1999 for 4-years term. Next elections to State Duma should be appointed for December, 21, 2003. Chairman of the State Duma - Gennady Seleznyov (Communist party of Russian Federation).

  • Council of the Federation: http://www.council.gov.ru/
  • Duma: http://www.duma.gov.ru/

    Executive power is exercised by the Government of Russian Federation. The government currently in power was formed in April, 1998 for the term of presidential duties. Chairman of the Government - Mikhail Kasyanov (acting premier since May, 7, 2000, appointed on May, 17, 2000). The Government consists of its Chairman, vice-chairmen and a.30 federal ministers. The Government manages the sistem of a.60 federal bodies of executive power (ministries, state committees, federal agencies, commissions and services).

  • The Government: http://www.pravitelstvo.gov.ru/

  • The Constitutional Court was formed on October, 30, 1991 - 13 judges elected for unlimited term (till 65-years age). functioned since November, 1, 1991 till October, 7, 1993. Resumed work in February, 1995 after additional election of 6 judges (for 12-years term or till 70-years age) according to 1993 Constitution. Chairman of the Constitutional Court - Marat Baglay (elected on February, 20, 1997, re-elected on February, 21, 2000 for 3-years terms).
  • The system of federal common courts includes the Supreme Court, courts of the regions and martial courts. Present staff of the Supreme Court of RF was formed in 1988-1996. Includes 104 judges elected after 1992 for life term and 8 judges elected before 1992 for 10-years term. Chairman of the Supreme Court - Vyacheslav Lebedev (elected on July, 26, 1989 for 10 years, re-elected on July, 2, 1999 for life term).
  • The system of courts of arbitration includes 93 courts: Higher, 10 interregional courts of federal districts, 82 regional courts. The Higher Arbitration Court established in January, 1992. Chairman of the Higher Arbitration Court - Veniamin Yakovlev (appointed on January, 23, 1992 for 10 years).
  • The Prosecutor's Office of Russian Federation is the single centralised structure for supervision over maintenance of the laws and human rights and for criminal prosecution. Prosecutor General of the Russian Federation - Vladimir Ustinov (acting Prosecutor General since Summer, 1999; appointed on May, 17, 2000 for 5-years term).

  • Constitutional Court: http://ks.rfnet.ru/
  • Supreme Court: http://www.supcourt.ru/
  • Higher Arbitration Court: http://www.arbitr.ru/

  • The Accounts Chamber is the body for controlling the implementation of the federal budget. Consists of chairman, vice-chairman, 12 auditors). Formed in April, 1995. Chairman - Sergei Stepashin (appointed on April, 19, 2000). Deputy Chairman - Yury Boldyrev (appointed on January, 18, 1995). Auditors appointed in January - May 1995 (2 auditors changed in 1997, 1 in 2000). All the appointments made for 6 years.
  • The Commissioner for human rights (ombudsman) - Oleg Mironov (Communist party member, appointed on May, 22, 1998 for 5 years).
  • Central Bank of the Russian Federation (Bank of Russia). The Chairman - Viktor Gerashchenko (appointed on September, 11, 1998 for 4 years). The Board of directors formed in September 1998 for 4 years.
  • The Central electoral commission formed in December, 1994 - March, 1995 for 4 years. Chairman of the CEC - Alexandr Veshnyakov, elected on March, 24, 1999.

  • Central Bank: http://www.cbr.ru/
  • Central Electoral Commission: http://www.fci.ru/


    89 constituent entities - 'subjects of Russian Federation':
    21 republics: Adygeya, Altai, Bashkortostan, Buryatiya, Daghestan, Ingushetia, Kabardino-Balkarian, Kalmykia, Karachayevo-Cherkessian, Karelia, Komi, Mariy El, Mordovia, Sakha (Yakutia), North Ossetia - Alania, Tatarstan, Tyva, Udmurtian, Khakassia, Chechen, Chuvash;
    6 krays (territories): Altai, Krasnodar, Krasnoyarsk, Primorie, Stavropol, Khabarovsk;
    49 oblasts (provinces): Amur, Arkhangelsk, Astrakhan, Belgorod, Bryansk, Vladimir, Volgograd, Vologda, Voronezh, Ivanovo, Irkutsk, Kaliningrad, Kaluga, Kamchatka, Kemerovo, Kirov, Kostroma, Kurgan, Kursk, Leningrad, Lipetsk, Magadan, Moscow, Murmansk, Nizhni Novgorod, Novgorod, Novosibirsk, Omsk, Orenburg, Oryol, Penza, Perm, Pskov, Rostov, Ryazan, Samara, Saratov, Sakhalin, Sverdlovsk, Smolensk, Tambov, Tver, Tomsk, Tula, Tyumen, Ulyanovsk, Chelyabinsk, Chita, Yaroslavl;
    2 cities of federal significance: Moscow, St.Petersburg;
    Jewish autonomous oblast;
    10 autonomous okrugs (districts): Aginsk Buryat, Komi-Permyak, Koryak, Nenets, Taimyr (Dolgano-Nenets); Ust-Ordyn Buryat, Khanty-Mansi, Chukotka, Evenk, Yamalo-Nenets.

    Federal law "On the basic principles of organization of legislative (representative) and executive state power bodies of regions of Russian Federation" (184-fz of October, 6, 1999, amended on July, 29, 2000) orders presidential system of power (highest official is elected by people), but allows to preserve existing system in Daghestan (supreme leader elected by special representative assembly). The law allows maximum two 5-year terms in succession for highest official.
  • Executive power in most of regions is exercised personally by the highest official elected by citizens (called head of administration, or governor, or president, or sometimes chairman of the government). The Constitutional Court consider this system the only possible variant corresponding to the federal Constitution. Never the less, parliamentary system still exists in 1 republic (Udmurtia). In Daghestan head of state is elected by special representative assembly.
  • Most of krays, oblasts and okrugs elected governors for the first time in September 1996 - March 1997. Before that they were ruled by heads-of-administrations appointed by President. The term of office is usually 4 or 5 (in some republics) years.
  • Legislative power belongs to legislative (representative) bodies whose names differ (Duma, Legislative Assembly, State Council and others). The legislatures were elected in 1993-1997 for terms of 2 (for transitional period) to 5 years, some of them extended their terms from 2 to 4-5 years.
  • Regional judicial system includes Constitutional (Charter) courts (optional) and Justices of the Peace (not elected yet). Other courts down to municipal level are federal courts and their judges are appointed by the President.

  • Regional governors election, 1998
    List of official servers: http://www.amursk.ru/admin/gosorgan.htm

    In economy planning and budget the division into 11 economic districts is implemented since Soviet era. Namely: Northern, North-West, Central, Central-Chernozem, Volgo-Vyatsky, North-Caucasian, Volga, Urals, West-Siberian, East-Siberian, Far Eastern.
    In 1990-1991 regional legislative and executive officials created 8 interregional associations including all the territory of Russia. Namely: Great Volga; Far Eastern association; Nortern Caucasus; North-West; Siberian Agreement; Urals; Central Russia; Chernozemye. The Association of autonomous entities (that are situated inside krays and oblasts) unsuccessfully claimed to get the same status. The law on regional associations (N211-fkz) adopted on December, 17, 1999.
    8 military districts of the Soviet Army remained on the RF territory: Far Eastern; Zabaikalsky; Leningrad; Moskow; Volga; North-Caucasian; Siberian; Urals. Volga-Urals district was divided into Volga and Urals in July, 1992. On July, 27, 1998 the scheme of districts changed, now there are 7 districts - Leningrad; Moscow; North-Caucasian; Volga; Urals; Siberian; Far Eastern - and Kaliningrad special zone.
    During the judicial reform 10 federal districts with interregional arbitration courts were created: Volgo-Vyatsky; East Siberian; Far Eastern; West-Siberian; Moscow; Volga; North-Western; North-Caucasian; Urals; Central.
    On May, 13, 2000 president Putin created by decree 7 federal district where presidential representatives will bw appointed: Central (center - Moscow); North-Western (St.Petersburgh); Volga (Nizhny Novgorod); Urals (Yekaterinburgh); Siberian (Novosibirsk); Far Eastern (Khabarovsk).


    In Russia there are registered 139 political organizations (including 43 parties), that had equal status of electoral associations in federal parliamentary elections - 1999.

    In the Federal Parliament are represented by own factions 6 political organizations that took 5-% electoral threshhold in 1999 elections:
  • Communist party of Russian Federation (chairman of the CPRF CC - Gennady Zyuganov);
  • Edinstvo - Unity also called Bear - Medved' (chairman - Sergey Shoigu, parliamentary faction leader Boris Gryzlov);
  • Otechestvo - Vsya Rossia (Fatherland - All Russia) (leaders - Yevgeny Primakov, Yury Luzhkov)
  • Union of Right Forces (SPS) (leaders - Sergey Kirienko, Yegor Gaidar)
  • Bloc of Zhirinovsky or Liberal-Democratic Party of Russia (chairman - Vladimir Zhirinovsky);
  • Association 'Yabloko' -'Apple' - (chairman - Grigory Yavlinsky).

    4 more organisations had factions or became the basis for officialy registered (35 deputies or more) deputies' groups in 1995-1999 parliament:
  • Movement 'Our Home is Russia' (chairman - Viktor Chernomyrdin, parliamentary faction leader - Vladimir Ryzhkov);
  • Agrarian party of Russia (leader of Agrarian deputies' group - Nikolay Kharitonov, APR chairman - Mikhail Lapshin);
  • Russian All-People's Union party (ROS) (leader of the deputies' group 'Narodovlastie' - 'Power of the People' - Nikolay Ryzhkov, ROS party Chairman - Sergey Baburin);
  • 'Regions of Russia' movement (leader of deputies' group 'Russia's regions' Oleg Morozov, leader of the movement - Vladimir Medvedev).
    8 deputies of the party 'Democratic choice of Russia' (DVR) formed non-official group (leader of the group - Sergei Yushenkov, chairman of the party - Yegor Gaidar). Now DVR is part of the coalition Pravoe Delo (Right cause) and big coalition Union of Right Forces (SPS).

    There are no official or unofficial factions in the upper chamber (Council of Federation).

    The blocs that were formed during 1996 presidential elections around main candidates transformed in Autumn 1996 into political coalitions.
  • President Yeltsin's supporters - All-Russian movement of popular support for the President (ODOPP) and 'People's House' - both headed by Sergei Filatov - and their members formed All-Russian coordination council for regional elections (OKS).
  • Communist leader Gennady Zyuganov's allies formed People's Patriotic Union of Russia (NPSR, chairman - Gennady Zyuganov, ececutive committee chairman - Nikolay Ryzhkov).
  • Alexander Lebed, who took 3rd place on presidential elections-1996, created his own structures - 'Honesty and Motherland' movement and Russian People's Republican Party.

    Also should be mentioned:
  • Corporative organisations. Most of them saved influence and property since Soviet era - Federation of Independent Trade Unions of Russia (FNPR, former VCSPS, Mikhail Shmakov); Russian Union of Youth (RSM, former Komsomol, Vyacheslav Lashchevsky); Political movement 'Women of Russia' (former Committee of Soviet women, Alevtina Fedulova), Russian Union of Industrialists and Employers (former Scientific-Industrial Union, Arkady Volsky).
  • Pioneers of 1988-1990 'non-formal movement': Democratic party of Russia (Sergei Glazyev), Republican party of Russian Federation (Vladimir Lysenko), Social-Democratic Party of Russian Federation (Olga Beklemishcheva), Russian Communist Worker's Party (Viktor Tyulkin), Movement 'Working Russia' (Viktor Anpilov).
  • Organizations, that appeared as a reaction to CPSU and USSR collapse - Socialist party of working people (Lyudmila Vartazarova), Congress of Russian Communities (Dmitry Rogozin).
  • One-man parties: Party of working people's self-government (Svyatoslav Fyodorov); Social-Patriotic Movement 'Derzhava' (Konstantin Zatulin); Movement 'Reforms - New way' (Vladimir Shumeiko); Socialist party of Russia (Ivan Rybkin); Social-Democrats Movement (Gavriil Popov); Movement 'Forza, Russia!' (Boris Fyodorov); Party of Russian Unity and Accord (Sergei Shakhrai).
  • Exotic - Beer lovers' party (Konstantin Kalachyov).

  • WWW: KPRF, Medved, Otechestvo, All Russia, Union of Right Forces, URF faction, LDPR, Yabloko, APR, DVR, Our Home is Russia, RKRP, Right Cause, ROS
    Also: Russian Green Party, Democratic Union of Russia, Subtropical Russia, RNE, KPSS named after L.I.Brezhnev, RKSM(b), Pamyat and Brownian Movement.


    In Moscow there are published 20 national and 3 city daily newspapers - meaning newspapers having 3 or more issues a week:
    independent (owned by banks) - Komsomolskaya pravda; Izvestiya; Nezavisimaya gazeta; Novye Izvestia; Segodnya; Commersant-Daily; Vremya MN; Vremya novostei; Vedomosti;
    governmental - Rossiyskaya gazeta (Government); Parlamentskaya gazeta (Federal Assembly); Krasnaya zvezda (Defence ministry);
    trade unions' (partly Gazprom) - Trud; Selskaya Zhizn; Tribuna (former Rabochaya Tribuna);
    communist - Sovetskaya Rossiya, Pravda;
    sports - Sovetsky sport, Sport-Express;
    Moscow city newspapers - Moskovsky komsomolets (circulation - more than 2 million); Moskovskaya Pravda; Vecherniaya Moskva.
    Weekly newspapers:
    Argumenty i fakty (circulation - more than 3 millions); Novaya Gazeta; Moskovskiye novosti; Obshchaya gazeta; Vek; Express-Chronicle; Russkaya Mysl (copy of Paris edition); Rossiyskie vesti (Presidential Administration till Apr.98); Literaturnaya Gazeta; Kultura; Kuranty; Knizhnoye obozreniye; Nedelya; Ekonomika I Zhizn etc.
    trade unions' - Solidarnost;
    left opposition - Pravda Rossii (KPRF official organ); Zavtra; Russkii Vestnik; Glasnost (CPSU); Slovo; Literaturnaya Rossiya;
    other political parties - Yabloko Rossii; Vremya (ROS); Demokraticheskiy vybor (DVR); LDPR; Rossiyskaya zemlya (APR).
    Freely distributed weeklies 'Center +' and 'Extra M' as well as 'SPID-info' also have more than million circulation.
    Magazines (politics and economy):
    Profil, Expert, Itogi, Ogonyok, Commersant-Vlast', Commersant-Den'gi, Novoye vryemya, Echo Planety, Kompania (weekly).

  • Dailies

    5 national and 1 Moscow meter channels are used by 4 state or semi-state companies - ORT (I), Russian television or VGTRK - RTR-1 (II), RTR-Kultura (V); TV-Center and Moscow regional TV (III) - and 2 private - NTV (swallowed 4th channel and 'Russian universities' by the grant of President Yeltsin); TV-6 (VI). Some decimeter channels in Moscow are commutated by collective antennas into meter diapason.

    4 state-owned channels: Radio Rossii (VGTRK company); Mayak, Yunost' (Mayak company); Orfei (Federal TVR agency). 3 ministerial channels: Slavyanka (Defence ministry); Medicina dlya vas (Health ministry); Militseyskaya volna (Interior ministry). Former USSR 1st programm Radio-1 was privatized in 1998.
    Main independent information stations: Echo of Moscow, Open Radio, RIA-radio etc.
    Left opposition views are broadcasted through Free Russia and some programs of Rezonans and Narodnoye Radio.
    Music stations; Europa+; Russian radio; Radio-101; Nostalgie etc.
    Radio Liberty, Voice of America, BBC, RFI and Deutche Welle are re-broadcasted in MW and FM in Moscow and some other cities.
  • Details: Radio v Moskve - Russian transliterated


    'Moscow Times', February, 18, 1997, supposes that there are a.500.000 internet users in Russia, including those who have e-mail only. ROCIT survey (june 1996-june 1997) says that there are 600.000 e-mail users (doubles in a year); 100.000 WWW users (x4 in a year). Non-Moscow users quantity increased from 25% to 40%, www sites from 700 to 6000. "Rossiyskaya gazeta" March, 10, 2000 says there were 450.000 Internet users in August, 1997, 900.000 in August, 1998, 1.100.000 in March, 1999.
    Web domains and hosts statistics can be found in NetWizard. Russia (*.ru domain) is 27th in the world (42th in January 1995).
  • List of *.ru domain names
    There are some resembling pages about Russia:
  • in Russian - at the Presidential Administration, in TASS;
  • in English - in CIA factbook; in Seanet; in Princeton - from Enciclopaedia Britanica.
    Grigory Belonuchkin (diogen@online.ru)