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The Russian State Overview

State Power Summary | Administrative Division of Russia | Sources |

Last updated: August 4, 2016

Federal State Bodies

Regional State Bodies

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.[1]

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.

Important note: There is a debate whether to consider the President as a part of the Russian executive power branch. On the one hand, his activities address primarily executive issues, and he communicates primarily with the Russian Government on most tasks. On the other hand, the scope of his competences goes well beyond executive issues. As soon as the President does not represent the separate branch of power in accordance with the Constitution, we place the materials on the President in the Executive Power section.

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[2]. Referring to the law, it has the following tasks (tasks are shaped briefly; for exact wording, please, refer to the law):

Despite reporting to the Federal Assembly, the Chamber cannot be named as legislative power body, as far as it does not have legislative functions, and it does not stop operations in case the Russian Parliament is dissolved.

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.[3]

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):

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:

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[4]. 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[5].

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.[6] 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.

On April 22, 2016 Ms. Tatiana Moskalkova, the Major General of Ministry of the Interior, was appointed to the position of Ombudsperson by the State Duma.[7]

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).

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