United Nations Development Programme

Russian Federation

About the Country


[ Legislation | Federal power bodies | Regions | Parties | Economy | Media | Links ]



Territory 17,075,000 sq km, population - 141.927.297 (December 2009 est.), Russians - 80%, capital - Moscow (population 10,562,099).


1922 to 1991 - a republic of the USSR. Independent state since 12 December 1991. UN member, UN Security Council permanent member (successor of the USSR).


Before 25 December 1991 - Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic (RSFSR). Since 25 December 1991 - Russian Federation.


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


HEAD OF STATE President of the Russian Federation - Dmitry Anatolyevich MEDVEDEV, elected on 2 March 2008 for a term of four years, inaugurated on 7 May 2008.

Former President of the Russian Federation - Vladimir Vladimirovich PUTIN: acting President from 31 December 1999 - 6 May 2000, President since 7 May 2000; re-elected in 2004

Presidential Executive Office (Presidential Administration)

Presidential Administration (PA) provides staff and policy support to the President, drafts presidential decrees, and coordinates policy among government agencies.

The Security Council also reports directly to the President

Presidential elections: President is elected by a popular vote for a four-year term (eligible for a second term); election last held 2 March 2008 (next to be held in March 2012). In November 2008 the State Duma (lower chamber of the Parliament) approved the extension of the next presidential term to six years. There is no Vice President; if the President dies in office, cannot exercise his powers because of ill health, is impeached, or resigns, the Premier serves as acting President until a new presidential election is held, which must be within three months; Premier is appointed by the President with the approval of the State Duma.

Head of the PA Sergey Yevgenyevich NARYSHKIN

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


Bicameral Federal Assembly consists of the Federation Council (Chairman Sergey Mironov; includes 178 representatives of regions; each region is represented by 2 persons: one - from a legislative body; one from an executive body) and the State Duma (Chairman Boris Gryzlov, 450 seats; currently elected by proportional representation from party lists winning at least 7% of the vote; members are elected by direct, popular vote to serve four-year terms).

  • Federation Council: http://council.gov.ru/
  • State Duma: http://duma.gov.ru/


Executive power is exercised by the Government of the Russian Federation. Chairman of the Government - Vladimir Vladimirovich PUTIN (since 8 May 2008)The Government consists of the Chairman, vice-chairmen and federal ministers - all are appointed by the President. First Deputy Premiers Igor Ivanovich SHUVALOV and Viktor Alekseyevich ZUBKOV (since 12 May 2008); Deputy Premiers Sergey Borisovich IVANOV (since 12 May 2008), Aleksey Leonidovich KUDRIN (since 24 September 2007), Igor Ivanovich SECHIN (since 12 May 2008), Sergey Semenovich SOBYANIN (since 12 May 2008), Aleksandr Dmitriyevich ZHUKOV (since 9 March 2004), and Dmitry Nikolayevich KOZAK (since 14 October 2008).

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


The judicial system of the Russian Federation consists of:

  • The Constitutional Court of the Russian Federation and constitutional courts of the republics and other subjects of the Russian Federation;
  • Four-tiered system of courts of general jurisdiction. Three-tiered system of the military courts is an integral part of it. The Supreme Court of the Russian Federation is the supreme judicial body of this branch;
  • The system of the arbitration courts, including arbitration courts of the subjects of the Russian Federation; courts of arbitration districts (10) and the Higher Arbitration Court.

Constitutional Court was formed on 30 October1991 and functioned from 1 November 1991 till 7 October 1993. The Court resumed work in February 1995 after additional election of 6 judges according to 1993 Constitution. The Court has 19 judges, appointed by the Federation Council on the recommendation of the president. The Constitutional Court of the Russian Federation considers cases relating to the compliance of the federal laws, normative acts of the President of the Russian Federation, the Council of the Federation, the State Duma, the Government of the Russian Federation, constitutions of republics, charters and other normative acts of the subjects of Russian Federation with the Constitution of the Russian Federation. Chairman of the Constitutional Court Valery ZORKIN (elected in February 2003; re-elected for the new 3-year term in 21 February 2006; re-elected again in February 2009).

Supreme Court is the supreme judicial body for civil, criminal, administrative and other cases under the jurisdiction of courts of general jurisdiction, carries out judicial supervision over their activities according to the federal law-envisaged procedural forms and provides clarifications on the issues of court proceedings. The Supreme Court of the Russian Federation acts as a court of first instance for cases of special importance or special public interest when it accepts them for consideration according to the legislation and is cassation instance in relation to the federal courts of general jurisdiction of republics or oblast. The Supreme Court supervises legality, validity and substantiality of sentences and other decisions of courts of lower level. The Supreme Court of the Russian Federation is composed of its Chairman, first deputy and deputies of the Chairman, the justices of the Court and Peoples assessors. Chairman of the Constitutional Court Vyacheslav LEBEDEV (appointed 1989).

Higher Arbitration Court was established in January 1992. The Higher Arbitration Court of the Russian Federation is the supreme judicial body competent to settle economic disputes and other cases examined by arbitration courts, to exercise judicial supervision over their activity and to provide explanations of court proceedings. Chairman of the Higher Arbitration Court Anton IVANOV (since January 2005).

The Prosecutor's Office of the Russian Federation is a single centralized system in which lower prosecutors are subordinated to higher prosecutors and the Prosecutor-General of the Russian Federation. The Prosecutor's Office of Russian Federation is a single centralised structure for supervision over maintenance of the laws and human rights and for criminal prosecution. The Prosecutor-General of the Russian Federation is appointed and relieved from the post by the Federation Council on nomination by the President of the Russian Federation. Prosecutor General of the Russian Federation Yuri CHAIKA (since June 2006)

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

Regional judicial system includes Constitutional (Charter) courts and Peace Judges. Their jurisdiction includes interpretation of regional constitutions and charters and decisions on whether oblast or local statutes are consistent with regional constitutions and charters. Other courts down to municipal level are federal courts and their judges are appointed by the president.


Audit Chamber, formed in April 1995, is the body for controlling the implementation of the federal budget, is composed by of a chairman, a vice-chairman and 12 auditors.
Chairman - Sergei STEPASHIN (appointed April 2000).

Human Rights Ombudsman Vladimir LUKIN, appointed in February 2004.

Central Bank of the Russian Federation (Bank of Russia). Chairman Sergey IGNATIEV (appointed March 2002)

Central Electoral Commission was set up in March 1995. CEC Chairman - Vladimir CHUROV, elected on 27 March 2007.

  • Audit Chamber: http://www.ach.gov.ru
  • Central Bank: http://www.cbr.ru/
  • Central Electoral Commission: http://www.fci.ru/


83 - Federal administrative units - 'Subjects of Russian Federation':

46 oblasts, 21 republics , 4 autonomous okrugs, 9 krais, 2 federal cities, and 1 autonomous oblast

Oblasts: Amur (Blagoveshchensk), Arkhangel'sk, Astrakhan', Belgorod, Bryansk, Chelyabinsk, Irkutsk, Ivanovo, Kaliningrad, Kaluga, Kemerovo, Kirov, Kostroma, Kurgan, Kursk, Leningrad, Lipetsk, Magadan, Moscow, Murmansk, Nizhniy Novgorod, Novgorod, Novosibirsk, Omsk, Orenburg, Orel, Penza, Pskov, Rostov, Ryazan', Sakhalin (Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk), Samara, Saratov, Smolensk, Sverdlovsk (Yekaterinburg), Tambov, Tomsk, Tula, Tver', Tyumen', Ul'yanovsk, Vladimir, Volgograd, Vologda, Voronezh, Yaroslavl'

Republics: Adygeya (Maykop), Altay (Gorno-Altaysk), Bashkortostan (Ufa), Buryatiya (Ulan-Ude), Chechnya (Groznyy), Chuvashiya (Cheboksary), Dagestan (Makhachkala), Ingushetiya (Magas), Kabardino-Balkariya (Nal'chik), Kalmykiya (Elista), Karachayevo-Cherkesiya (Cherkessk), Kareliya (Petrozavodsk), Khakasiya (Abakan), Komi (Syktyvkar), Mariy-El (Yoshkar-Ola), Mordoviya (Saransk), North Ossetia (Vladikavkaz), Sakha [Yakutiya] (Yakutsk), Tatarstan (Kazan'), Tyva (Kyzyl), Udmurtiya (Izhevsk)

Autonomous okrugs: Chukotka (Anadyr'), Khanty-Mansi (Khanty-Mansiysk), Nenets (Nar'yan-Mar), Yamalo-Nenets (Salekhard)

Krais: Altay (Barnaul), Kamchatka (Petropavlovsk-Kamchatskiy), Khabarovsk, Krasnodar, Krasnoyarsk, Perm', Primorskiy (Vladivostok), Stavropol', Zabaykal'skiy (Chita)

Federal cities: Moscow (Moskva), Saint Petersburg (Sankt-Peterburg)

Autonomous oblast: Yevrey [Jewish] (Birobidzhan)

Note: administrative divisions have the same names as their administrative centers (exceptions have the administrative center name following in parentheses)


Presidential envoys

Presidential decree No. 849, "On the Envoys of the President of the Russian Federation in Federal Districts," issued on May 13, 2000, launched the process of streamlining the vertical management of the state. Russia was divided into seven federal districts, each to be headed by a presidential envoy or Plenipotentiary Representative of the President.

On January 19, 2010, new North Caucasian Federal District was split from Southern Federal District following Presidential decree No. 83 "On the Deputy Chairperson of the Government of the Russian Federation and on the Plenipotentiary Envoy of the President of the Russian Federation in North Caucasian Federal District".

The eight federal districts are made up of the following subjects of the Russian Federation:

Central Federal District Belgorod Oblast, Bryansk Oblast, Ivanovo Oblast, Kaluga Oblast, Kostroma Oblast, Kursk Oblast, Lipetsk Oblast, Moscow, Moscow Oblast, Oryol Oblast, Ryazan Oblast, Smolenski Oblast, Tambov Oblast, Tver Oblast, Tula Oblast, Vladimir Oblast, Voronezh Oblast, Yaroslavl Oblast.(The Central Federal District administrative center is Moscow).

Plenipotentiary Representative of the President: Georgi POLTAVCHENKO.

Far Eastern Federal District Amur Oblast, Chukotka Autonomous Oblast, Jewish Autonomous Oblast, Kamchatsky Krai, Primorsky Krai, Khabarovsky Krai, Magadan Oblast, Republic of Sakha Yakutia, Sakhalin Oblast.(The Far Eastern Federal District administrative center is Khabarovsk).

Plenipotentiary Representative of the President: Victor ISHAEV

Northwestern Federal District Arkhangelsk Oblast, Kaliningrad Oblast, Republic of Karelia, Republic of Komi, Leningrad Oblast, Murmansk Oblast, Novgorod Oblast, Pskov Oblast, St. Petersburg, Nenets Autonomous Okrug, Vologda Oblast. (The Northwestern Federal District administrative center is St. Petersburg).

Plenipotentiary Representative of the President: Ilya KLEBANOV

Siberian Federal District Aginsk Buryat Autonomous District, Republic of Altai, Altaisky Krai, Republic of Buryatia, Chita Oblast, Irkutsky Krai, Kemerovo Oblast, Republic of Khakasia, Krasnoyarsky Krai, Novosibirsk Oblast, Omsk Oblast, Tomsk Oblast, Republic of Tyva. (The Siberian Federal District administrative center is Novosibirsk).

Plenipotentiary Representative of the President: Anatoly KVASHNIN

Southern Federal District Republic of Adygeya, Astrakhan Oblast, Chechen Republic, Republic of Dagestan, Republic of Ingushetia, Republic of Kabardino-Balkaria, Republic of Kalmykia, Republic of Karachayevo-Cherkessia, Krasnodarsky Krai, Republic of North Ossetia, Rostov Oblast, Stavropol Territory, Volgograd Oblast. (The Southern Federal District administrative center is Rostov-on-Don).

Plenipotentiary Representative of the President: Vladimir USTINOV

Uralsky Federal District Chelyabinsk Oblast, Khanty-Mansiisk Autonomous District, Kurgan Oblast, Sverdlovsk Oblast, Tyumen Oblast, Yamal-Nenets Autonomous District. (The Urals Federal District administrative center is Yekaterinburg).

Plenipotentiary Representative of the President: Nikolai VINNICHENKO

Privolzhsky Federal District Republic of Bashkortostan, Republic of Chuvashia, Kirov Oblast, Republic of Marii-El, Republic of Mordovia, Nizhny Novgorod Oblast, Orenburg Oblast, Penza Oblast, Permsky Krai, Samara Oblast, Saratov Oblast, Republic of Tatarstan, Republic of Udmurtia, Ulyanovsk Oblast. (The Volga Federal District administrative center is Nizhny Novgorod).

Plenipotentiary Representative of the President: Grigory RAPOTA

North Caucasian Federal District - Republic of Dagestan, Republic of Ingushetia, Kabardino-Balkar Republic, Karachay-Cherkess Republic, Republic of North Ossetia-Alania, Stavropol Krai, Chechen Republic. (The North Caucasian Federal District administrative center is Pyatigorsk).

Plenipotentiary Representative of the President: Alexander KHLOPONIN


The administrative heads of the regions are often referred to as the governors. The governments of the republics include a president or prime minister (or both) and a regional council or legislature. The chief executives of lower jurisdictions are called governors or administrative heads. The law adopted on 12 December 2004 gives the president the right to appoint Russia's 89 regional leaders, who then must be confirmed by the regional legislatures instead of having governors elected by direct vote as had been the case since 1993. According to the new law, if the president's candidate is rejected twice, he can then dissolve the legislature and appoint his own choice as acting governor.


In the Soviet Union the one-party system was enshrined in the constitution, which declared the Communist Party of the Soviet Union the core of the political system of the country. Attempts to create the first non-communist parties date back to 1988. In accordance with the federal law "On Political Parties," which came into effect on July 14, 2001, an organization that consistently takes part in elections, has a membership of at least 10,000 and has branches in at least 50 regions, with each branch having a membership of at least 100, is considered to be a party. The law "On Public Associations" (March 15, 2002) states that a mass public association that consists only of unofficial participants, rather than officially listed members, and pursues social and political aims is a public movement. A public association may take part in elections to the State Duma and local government if said participation is formalized in its rules.

2007 Duma elections results:

The parties that passed the 7% threshold required to form a faction in the Duma included:

United Russia (Boris GRYZLOV) 70%
Communist Party of the Russian Federation (Gennady ZYUGANOV) 12,7%
Liberal Democratic Party of Russia (Vladimir ZHIRINOVSKY) 8.9%
Just Russia/Motherland/Pensioners/Party of Life (Sergei MIRONOV) 8.4%

International Organizations participation

APEC, Arctic Council, ARF, ASEAN (dialogue partner), BIS, BSEC, CBSS, CE, CERN (observer), CIS, CSTO, EAEC, EAPC, EBRD, G-8, GCTU, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC, ICCt (signatory), ICRM, IDA, IFC, IFRCS, IHO, IMO, IMSO, Interpol, IOC, IPU, ISO, ITSO, ITU, ITUC, LAIA (observer), MIGA, MINURSO, MONUC, NAM (guest), NSG, OAS (observer), OIC (observer), OPCW, OSCE, Paris Club, PCA, PFP, SCO, UN, UN Security Council, ,UPU, WCO, WFTU, WIPO, WMO, WTO (observer), ZC


After bottoming out during the economic crisis and default of August 1998, the Russian economy demonstrated rather high, if not spectacular, economic growth over the following decade. Along with India and China, Russia became one of the worlds best performing emerging markets during a period when traditional powerhouse economies were falling on hard times.

Much of this positive economic news was the result of high world oil prices. Revenues from oil exports accounted for 25 percent of total Russian GDP. Another contributor to growth was the devaluation of the Russian ruble following the 1998 crisis, which priced many imports out of the range of Russian consumers and provided an advantage to domestic producers.

A number of government reform initiatives were also commonly credited with the improved performance, including a revamp of the personal tax system that involved the introduction of a 13 percent flat income tax rate, and a simplification and easing of the corporate tax system that made profit taxes less onerous.

In 2003, President Vladimir Putin declared that doubling the countrys GDP in the space of 10 years was a primary state objective, and a number of government proposals, including administrative reform and badly needed bank reform, were put forward as necessary in order to achieve this goal.

While export revenues grew very quickly in 2001-2007 due to increasing oil prices as well as the prices for other raw materials and primary goods (metals, in particular), they were not translated into high investments, but mostly resulted in the growth of private consumption. Part of the consumption demand was for services and non-tradable goods and had a stimulating effect on the economic growth in those sectors, but growing demand for other goods had limited influence on the economy. Russian manufacturing was unable to satisfy the growing domestic demand, both because of the relatively high costs of production and the inability to provide quality goods at competitive prices.

Thus, the foreign direct investments (FDI) into Russia mostly were concentrated not in manufacturing but in the extraction industries and had a modest impact on production and efficiency growth. So, the extremely high rates of import growth (in 2007 import growth rates were 9 times higher than export growth rates) became an important feature of the Russian economic model.

Also, concerns remained that a drop in the world oil price could seriously crimp the countrys growth. This resulted in the establishment of a "stabilization fund", supplied by receipts from oil revenues. It reached $157 billion by January of 2008.

Due to financial resources being too expensive inside the country, large Russian corporations and banks sought short-term loans from the world financial markets that were at that time providing extremely cheap loans because of excessive liquidity.

The crash of world financial markets in 2008 immediately put both the banking sector and the corporate sector in a very dangerous position, making interference from the government and Central Bank necessary to stabilize the situation. These problems were highlighted by the drop in export revenues and a subsequent drop in the international ratings of Russian corporations and national economy in general, which made getting loans on the world markets very expensive and near impossible.

Although those consequences of the crisis are more or less successfully dealt with by the use of state reserve funds, much more serious and strategic decisions are needed to fight serious economic problems, caused by the falling prices of Russian exports and lack of investments in manufacture. Hereby, the current crisis, while having evident negative consequences, may have a positive impact on the Russian economy by facilitating delayed structural and institutional reforms and by making the Russian industry more efficient and competitive.



According to the Register of print media, there are 28,449 newspapers 21,572 magazines registered in the Russian Federation. About 25 daily and 20 weekly editions are issued in Moscow. Five of them have only Moscow circulation. Some of the newspapers belong to government ministries or political parties.

Daily newspapers:

Rossiyskaya Gazeta (Government paper)
Parlamentskaya Gazeta (Federal Assembly paper)
Komsomolskaya Pravda
Nezavisimaya Gazeta
Novye Izvestia
Vremya MN
Vremya Novostei
Krasnaya Zvezda (Ministry of Defense paper)
Selskaya Zhizn
Sovetskaya Rossiya (Communist Party paper)
Moskovsky Komsomolets
Moskovskaya Pravda
The Moscow Times (English-language daily)

Weekly newspapers:

Argumenty i Fakty
Novaya Gazeta
Moskovskiye Novosti
Obshchaya Gazeta
Literaturnaya Gazeta
Ekonomika I Zhizn
The Moscow News (English-language weekly)



Novoye Vremya
Echo Planety

Details: Moscow Newspapers


There are five national and one Moscow meter channels. 15 decimeter channels are received in Moscow, 2 of them are Moscow-region channels. Regional State TV and Radio Broadcasting Companies include local programmes into the programme schedule of the national channel Russia.

Meter channels:

1. Pervyi Canal
2. Russia 1 (VGTRK state company)
3. TVC and 3 Canal (Moscow channel)
4. NTV
5. Kultura
6. Russia 2 (Sport-TV)

Major decimeter channels:




Via Satellite:

Russia Today


Four state-owned and three ministerial channels have a national outreach, unlike most independent radio stations. Only few of them broadcast in regions. An independent giant Russkoe radio is the largest European radio network.

State-owned channels:

Radio Russia VGTRK state company)
Yunost' (Mayak company)

Ministerial channels:

Radio Zvezda (Ministry of Defence)
Medicina Dlya Vas (Ministry of Health)
Militseyskaya Volna (Ministry of Interior)

Major independent stations:

Echo Moskvi
Russkoe radio

International stations:

Radio Liberty
Voice of America
Deutche Welle

Details: Radio and Television in Moscow

News Agencies:

Itar-Tass - state-owned, pages in English
RIA-Novosti - state-owned, pages in English
Interfax private, pages in English
RBC private, pages in Russian

Agency of Social Information - private, pages in English


The number of Internet users in Russia in 2009 amounted to around 50,000,000

Major Internet providers:

Corbina Telecom
Beeline Internet
Sky Link
Golden Telecom

Major Internet newspapers:


Main search engines:



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.