The State power in Russia acts on the basis of dividing into 3 branches:
- the legislative,
- the executive,
- the judicial
All the 3 powers are independent in their everyday activities.
The Federal Assembly (the Russian Parliament) is a representative and legislative government body. It consists of 2 chambers: the State Duma and the Council of the Federation.
The Council of the Federation is formed of both the legislative and the executive authorities. It is the upper house of the Parliament.
Russia consists of 85 federal subjects. They are the constituent entities. They are republics, districts, lands and cities of federal importance. Each federal subject sends 2 senators (1 from the local legislative body and 1 from the local executive body) to the Council of the Federation thus forming the total of 170 members. The head of the Council of the Federation is the Chairman.
The State Duma consists of 450 deputies, half of them are elected from the leading political parties. The deputies of the State Duma are elected once in 5 years by all the citizens older than 18 years of age. The Duma is a legislative body. It is the lower house of the Parliament.
The State Duma can be dismissed by a presidential order in cases defined by the constitution. Then the President appoints elections so that the new Duma can start working no later than in 3 months after the dismissal. In any case the Duma cannot be dismissed earlier than in a year after it has been formed.
The Government is the supreme body of executive power with the Prime Minister as its head. Now the Prime Minister is Dmitry Medvedev. The Prime Minister is appointed by the President with the approval of the Duma.
The President is the head of the Russian Federation. He (or she, although it has never happened yet) is not a member of any of the 3 branches. That is the supreme position in the State authorities. The President fulfils the tasks he is entrusted with by the Constitution. The President coordinates the activities of the power bodies. The President is elected by all the citizens. According to the Constitution one person can be elected the President for no more than 2 times in a row.
Vladimir Putin is the President of Russia. He was elected the President for the 1st time in 2000 for 4 years, then re-elected in 2004 for another 4 years. From 2008 to 2012 Dmitry Medvedev was the President, and in 2012 Putin became the President once again, for 6 years this time, according to an amendment to the Constitution of 2008, that extended the terms of the President to 6 years. That amendment also extended the terms of the State Duma from 4 to 5 years.
The President has a lot of rights and duties.
The President is also the Supreme Commander-in-Chief.
The President can make a decision to dismiss the Government.
The president rules and directs the inner and the foreign policy.
Vladimir Putin is not a member of any political party, although the constitution does not forbid the President to be a member of a party.
According to the Constitution the State Duma can launch a procedure of dismissal of the President if there is a very serious reason for it and only if it is approved by no less than two-thirds of its members. If the Duma acts that way, the Council of the Federation can launch an impeachment but it also demands a two-thirds majority. Also the dismissal can be accomplished only with the participation of the judicial body.
St. Petersburg is a subject of the Federation as a city of federal importance. The federal city of St. Petersburg is divided into 18 city districts, which are in turn subdivided into municipal okrugs (divisions), municipal towns and municipal settlements.
The supreme and the only legislative body in St. Petersburg is the Legislative Assembly (ZAKS in Russian). It is located in Mariinsky Palace. The Legislative Assembly consists of 50 seats and is elected for a five-year term.
The supreme executive body is the Government of St. Petersburg. It is headed by the Governor. The Governor is elected once in 5 years. The Government rules the activities of the Governor’s administration, the city districts’ administrations and of all kinds of city committees, inspections and services. The Government, the Governer and the administration are located in the building of Smolny Institute.
Russia has a multi-party system. Currently there are 4 parties that make up the federal parliament and the State Duma, with one dominant party – United Russia. It is often referred to as the Party of Power.
On December 2012 there are 48 registered political parties in Russia. Four of them are currently represented in the State Duma:
Communist Party of the Russian Federation,
Political Party LDPR (Liberal-Democratic Party of Russia),