Russia is governed by a federal presidential republic, and is officially titled the Russian Federation. It consists of an executive branch, legislative branch and judicial branch. The legal system is a civil law system, and uses a judicial review of legislation.
Its executive branch consists of a president and a prime minister, between which power is split. At this time the president is Vladimir Putin (as of April 2012). The president is elected in six year terms, and can only serve two consecutive terms (as of 2008). The president controls domestic and foreign policy, represents the state in foreign affairs, and signs international treaties. He/she also is commander-in-chief of the armed forces, and has the power to veto legislative bills and to grant pardons. The president has the power to resolve issues of citizenship within the Russian Federation.
The prime minister is the head of the Russian government, appointed by the president and approved by the State Duma. At this time the position is held by Dmitry Medvedev. The prime minister works within the government and informs the president about the activities. He/she heads sessions of government and has the decisive vote in the Presidium. The prime minister is the representative for relations inside the country.
The legislative branch (parliament) is made up of the upper and lower houses. Both are in Moscow. The upper house is called the Federal Assembly. The members are not directly elected. The Council is made up of two representatives from each federal administrative unit, one nominated by the head executive of the entity and one by the entity’s head legislator. At this time there are 166 seats and the representatives serve four-year terms. The upper house declares presidential elections, has the power to impeach, and determines whether armed forces are used outside of the Russian Federation.
The lower house is the State Duma. It has 450 seats all on 5 year terms set by amendments to the constitution (as of 2008). The deputies are elected through proportional representation of the federal entities (as of 2007) through party-lists. The State Duma is the first to consider any bills. If the bill is approved it is a draft law sent to be approved by the Federation Council. Together the houses make federal law, approve of treaties, and declare war.
The judicial branch is made up of three kinds of courts, Supreme Court, Constitutional Court, and High Court of Arbitration. The judges of all three courts are appointed for life by the upper house of parliament, with consent of the president. The Supreme Court heads the general courts and jurisdiction. Each district and/or city has a municipal court that hears most civil and criminal cases. The next level is the regional courts, and the highest is the Supreme Court. Arbitration Courts are specialized practice courts for property and commercial cases. The highest level of these courts is the High Court of Arbitration. The Constitutional Court decides if presidential decrees and laws are constitutional. If a law is decided to be unconstitutional it is unenforceable.
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"Central Intelligence Agency." CIA. N.p., n.d. Web. 14 Mar. 2013.