Legislative Power of Russia
Legislative Power Summary | The State Duma | Council of the Federation | Sources |
Last updated: October 7, 2016
Council of the Federation (which is also referred as the Senate) is the upper chamber of the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation that represents the interests of the Russian regions (subjects of the Russian Federation).
In accordance with Constitution of the Russian Federation, the Council comprises two delegates from each of the subjects (regions) of the Russian Federation. There are totally 85 of subjects and, therefore, the total number of delegates of the Council (senators) amounts to 170. One of the delegates from a subject represents a body of executive power of that subject (typically regional Administration), and another one represents its body of legislative power (typically regional Legislative Assembly).
The procedures of appointment of delegates of the Council of the Federation are provided by the Federal Law No. 229-FZ “On Procedure of Formation of the Council of the Federation of the Legislative Assembly of the Russian Federation” dated December 3, 2012.
The candidates for the position of a senator from an executive body of a subject of the Federation are actually defined when a head of appropriate subject of the Federation (Governor) is being elected. In the course of election campaign a person applying for the position of the head of the subject of the Federation has to provide a list of 3 candidates for the position of a senator that meet required criteria. After a head of the subject of the Federation is appointed, he/she shall appoint appropriate senator not later than the next day after accession to office.
A senator from a legislative body of a subject of the Federation (typically Legislative Assembly, which stands for regional parliament) is selected from among delegates of appropriate legislative body. A newly established regional parliament shall approve a senator in a month after its opening session with approval procedure requiring majority voting.
In 2014 the Russian Constitution was amended by the Law of Russian Federation on Amendments to the Constitution of the Russian Federation No. 11-FKZ “On the Council of the Federation of the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation” dated July 21, 2014. Amendments introduced the legal ground for operations of a group of senators appointed directly by the Russian President with their number not exceeding 10% of the overall number of senators.
As soon as the schedule of elections and appointments to executive and legislative bodies of subjects of the Federation differs from region to region there is no unified date for appointment of senators. They are replaced when a new Governor or Legislative Assembly comes to office.
Responsibilities of the Council of the Federation
Lawmaking. The major function of the Council of the Federation in lawmaking is approval of laws that have passed through the State Duma, and in that sense the Council is subordinate to the Duma. During this process the Council has the right to pass or reject a law as a whole, but does not have the right of making changes to law in question.
The Council and its delegates have also the right to introduce bills. There is a specific right to initiate changes in the Constitution that can be done either by the Council as a whole or by a group of delegates comprising not less than 1/5 of total number of the Council’s members.
Other responsibilities. In accordance with the Constitution, the specific issues under the jurisdiction of the Council of the Federation are as follows:
- Approval of borders between subjects of the Russian Federation;
- Approval of the Decree of the President of the Russian Federation on introduction of the Martial Law;
- Approval of the Decree of the President of the Russian Federation on introduction of State of Emergency;
- Decisions on possibility to use the Russian Army outside of the Russian Federation;
- Appointment of elections of the President of the Russian Federation;
- Dismissal of the President of the Russian Federation in the course of impeachment after appropriate indictment is initiated by the State Duma (2/3 of votes are required);
- Appointment of judges of the Constitutional Court of the Russian Federation and the Supreme Court of the Russian Federation (candidates are submitted by the President of the Russian Federation);
- Appointment and dismissal of the Public Prosecutor of the Russian Federation (candidate is submitted by the President of the Russian Federation);
- Appointment and dismissal of the Deputy Chairman of the Accounts Chamber of the Russian Federation and a half of its auditors.
Decisions of the Council typically require ½ of the total number of votes.