The Russian State Overview
State Power Summary | Administrative Division of Russia | Sources |
Last updated: August 4, 2016
Federal State Bodies
The key concepts related to the state power in Russia are addressed by the Constitution of the Russian Federation, which is the Russian supreme law.
In accordance with Article #10 of the Russian Constitution there are 3 branches of the state power in Russia, specifically executive, legislative and judicial power.
Article #11 of the Constitution envisages that the state power at federal level is implemented by the President of the Russian Federation, the Federal Assembly (the Russian Parliament comprising the Council of the Federation and the State Duma), the Government of the Russian Federation and Courts of the Russian Federation.
Despite the Russian constitution envisages only legislative, executive and judicial branches of power, there is a number of state bodies that cannot be considered to belong to any of the mentioned branches.
The Accounts Chamber of the Russian Federation is the body of financial / budgetary control that reports to the Federal Assembly. The operations of the Chamber are governed by the Russian Constitution and Federal Law No. 41-FZ “On Accounts Chamber of the Russian Federation” adopted by the State Duma on March 22, 2013. Referring to the law, it has the following tasks (tasks are shaped briefly; for exact wording, please, refer to the law):
- Supervising effective use of sources of the federal budget and the state extra-budgetary funds;
- Audit of feasibility and achieved results of the stated strategic goals on social and economic development of the Russian Federation;
- Supervising effectiveness and compliance to legislation of the state resources management regulations;
- Assessment of discrepancies and violations in the course of the state resources management, elaboration of propositions on their elimination and overall improvement of the budgetary process;
- Assessment of feasibility of tax and other benefits, federal loans, guarantees, etc.;
- Audit of reports of key administrators of the federal budget funds and extra-budgetary funds; audit of annual report on the federal budget execution and annual reports on budget execution of extra-budgetary funds;
- Control over flows of funds from the federal budget and extra-budgetary funds in the Central Bank, appointed banks and other financial organisations;
- Provision of anti-corruption measures within the scope of responsibilities of the Chamber.
Present head of the Accounts Chamber: Ms. Tatyana Golikova
Prosecutor General’s Office of the Russian Federation is the militarised state body that supervises over observance of the Russian Constitution and execution of laws within the territory of Russia. Activities of the Office are primarily regulated by the Russian Constitution and the Federal Law No. 2202-1 “On Prosecutor General’s Office of the Russian Federation” dated January 17, 1992.
Referring to the law, Prosecutor General’s Office implements the following major functions (the functions are shaped briefly; for exact wording, please, refer to the law):
- Supervision over law execution by the federal executive power bodies, the Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation, legislative and executive power bodies of subjects of the Federation, local self-governance bodies, military executive bodies, control bodies, human rights watch organisations for the penitentiary system, as well as executive bodies and heads of commercial and non-commercial organisations;
- Supervision over compliance with the law of regulations issued by the mentioned bodies;
- Supervision over observance of human and citizen rights and freedoms by the mentioned bodies;
- Supervision over execution of laws by criminal investigation bodies;
- Supervision over execution of laws by bailiffs;
- Supervision over execution of laws by penitentiary system bodies;
- Criminal prosecution in accordance with authority granted by the Russian criminal legislation;
- Coordination of activities of the law enforcement bodies in the course of crime fighting;
- Initiation of administrative offence cases and related investigations.
The prosecutors also participate in the court meetings (including arbitration courts’ meetings) with the right of appealing against court decisions that do not comply with the law.
The Prosecutor General is chosen by the President of Russia and officially appointed for that position by the Council of the Federation. The structure of Prosecutor General’s Office comprises the following units:
- Federal Prosecutor General’s Office;
- Prosecutor’s Offices of Subjects of the Federation;
- Prosecutor’s Offices of cities and districts and other area-based prosecutor offices;
- Military Prosecutor’s Office;
- Specialised Prosecutor’s Offices (transport, nature protection, penitentiary, strict access objects);
- Scientific and educational organisations of the Prosecutor’s Office;
- Editorial offices of the mass media issued by the Prosecutor’s Office.
As of 2014, there were totally 48 836 people engaged within the structure of Prosecutor General’s Office.
Present Prosecutor General of the Russian Federation: Mr. Yury Chayka
The Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation is a militarised state body that focuses on criminal investigation activities. It is authorised to conduct prejudicial inquiries and inquests. The Committee operates under the federal law No. 403-FZ “On the Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation” dated December 28, 2010. It was separated from the Prosecutor General’s Office and became an independent organisation in 2011 in accordance with the Presidential Decree No. 38 “On Issues Related to Activities of the Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation” dated January 14, 2011.
Present head of the Investigative Committee: Mr. Alexander Bastyrkin
The Central Election Commission (Centralnaya Izbiratelnaya Komissiya, CIK) is an independent state body responsible for organising the elections to the federal state bodies (specifically, the Presidential elections and elections to the State Duma), as well as for organising federal referendums. The Commission comprises 15 members appointed for 5 years period. Five of those members are appointed by the President, five are appointed by the State Duma and the remaining five are appointed by the Council of the Federation. The Commission has own Office (so-called ‘Apparat’) that secures implementation of its functions.
The previous members of the Commission led by Mr. Vladimir Churov were appointed on March 28, 2011 and their term of office ended on March 28, 2016.
On March 29, 2016 it was announced that Ms. Ella Pamfilova, an ex-Ombudswoman (until March 25, 2016) was appointed the Head (Chairperson) of the Commission. Mr. Nikolai Bulaev became the Deputy Head and Ms. Maiya Grishina became the Secretary of CIK.
Present head of the Central Election Commission: Ms. Ella Pamfilova
The High Commissioner for Human Rights in the Russian Federation (Ombudsperson) is a designated person that focuses on protection of rights and freedoms of residents of Russia, specifically in relation to their interactions with the state authorities. The scope of activities covers considering complaints on the actions of executive and judicial power and taking own actions on preventing violations of human rights in selected cases. The Commissioner is independent from the state, and even introduction of martial law or the national state of emergency does not suspend his/her functions.
Until March 25, 2016 Ms. Ella Pamfilova served as Ombudsperson, but she was dismissed in order to become the head of the Central Election Commission with new appointment secured by the President’s Decree.
Present Ombudsperson: Ms. Tatiana Moskalkova.
Regional State Bodies
The territory of the Russian Federation is divided into 85 regions/areas called ‘subjects of the Federation’ (also known as constituent entities of the Russian Federation). The state power in the subjects of the Federation is implemented by the state bodies assigned by appropriate subjects.
At present the Russian municipalities are formally treated as independent self-governance bodies in accordance with the law, but in fact they can be considered the representative branches of the state power at the lowest level of settlements and city districts (appropriate self-governance reform has not been successfully accomplished yet).