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Presentation Outline. II. Political Institutions a) The Executive Branch b) The Legislative Branch c) The Judicial Branch d) The Party System e) The Electoral System. Mixed Presidential-parliamentary system. elects. appoints. II. a) The Executive Branch.

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presentation outline
Presentation Outline

II. Political Institutions

a) The Executive Branch

b) The Legislative Branch

c) The Judicial Branch

d) The Party System

e) The Electoral System

ii a the executive branch
II. a) The Executive Branch

Russia uses a mixed presidential-parliamentary system similar to that of France:

President (Chief Executive + Head of State)

Prime Minister (Head of Government)

the russian president head of state and chief executive
The Russian PresidentHead of State and Chief Executive
  • Most powerful political institution in Russia
  • Elected to a 6 year term, limited to two successive terms
  • Has emergency decree powers
  • Can veto laws passed by the Duma
  • Appoints the Prime Minister
  • Can dissolve the Duma and call new elections
  • Nominates supreme and constitutional court judges
  • As of 2012 no longer appoints but can remove governors for corruption and “conflict of interest.”
  • Appoints Power Ministers (Defense + Foreign Affairs)

Timeline of Russian Presidents, 1991-present

Boris Yeltsin

Vladimir Putin

Dimitry Medvedev

Vladimir Putin

1991 -2000 2000-2008 2008-2012 2012-2018

prime minister head of government
Prime MinisterHead of Government
  • Appointed by the President
  • Does not necessarily have to hold a seat in the Duma
  • Runs the economy and recommends the appointment of ministers (other than defense + foreign affairs) to the president
  • Drafts and proposes legislation
  • Can be dismissed by the President or removed by the Duma in a lost confidence vote
ii b the legislative branch
II. b) The Legislative Branch
  • Russia has a bicameral legislature.
  • The Duma (Lower House) is based on representation by population
  • The Federation Council (Upper House) is based on regional representation
the duma
The Duma
  • Directly elected to 5 year terms
  • Creates and amends laws
  • Approves presidential appointment of Prime Minister
  • Can impeach the President with a supermajority vote (over 66%)- this nearly happened to Yeltsin
  • Can overturn presidential veto with a supermajority (over 66%)
  • 450 seats
the federation council
The Federation Council
  • Appointed by regional legislature and Governor
  • Makes and creates legislation
  • Approves President’s nominations to Supreme and Constitutional Courts
  • Ratifies treaties and approves deployment of troops
  • 166 members
ii c the judicial branch
II. c) The Judicial Branch
  • Russia has a formal Legal Code
  • According to the Russian Constitution, the judicial branch is separate and independent from the other two branches.
  • Supreme Court
  • Constitutional Court
the supreme court
The Supreme Court
  • Highest court of appeal for civil and criminal cases
  • Hears cases dealing with corruption of government officials in the Duma and Federation Council
  • Can challenge the Central Electoral Commission on issues of electoral fraud
  • Judges are nominated by the President and appointed by the Federation Council
the constitutional court
The Constitutional Court
  • Only handles matters related to the 1993 Russian Constitution
  • Empowered to rule whether presidential actions or Duma laws are unconstitutional
  • In theory, provides judicial review
  • In practice, has repeatedly bowed to the President
  • Judges are nominated by the President and appointed by the Federation Council

Former Constitutional Court Judge Yaroslavtsev was quoted in an interview in 2009 that “judges were increasingly subjected to pressure from the executive branch of government and the security services were running the country like in Soviet times.”


ii d the party system
II. d) The Party System
  • Russia has a multi-party system
  • Elections are considered semi-competitive, or procedural with frequent allegations of vote rigging or electoral manipulation
  • Since 2000, Putin’s United Russia Party has dominated the Presidency and Duma, and has influence in the Federation Council (The Council does not officially use parties)

The Party system in Russia is much less mature than the British one. Fewer Russians identify with specific political parties. The strength and popularity of parties is largely influenced by powerful personalities.

Communist Party

Leader: Gennady Zyuganov

United Russia

Leader: Vladimir Putin

Liberal-Democratic Party

Leader: Vladimir Zhirinovsky

Left Centre Right

ii e the electoral system
II. e) The Electoral System
  • Duma Elections
  • Presidential Elections
  • Referenda
duma elections
Duma Elections
  • The Duma elects members using proportional representation (PR)
  • Candidates to the Duma are chosen from Party Lists
  • Parties must receive at least 7% of the national vote in order to be allocated seats in the Duma
  • All Russian citizens 21 years or older are eligible to vote





To what extent do the above legislative results suggest the emergence of a one-party dominant state in Russia?

reaction to the 2011 duma elections
Reaction to the 2011 Duma elections
  • On 5 December, up to 8,000 opponents of the government began protesting in Moscow, denouncing Vladimir Putin and his government and what they believed were flawed elections. Protesters argued that the elections had been a sham and demanded that Putin step down, whilst some demanded revolution

  • U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said on a trip to Vienna that Russia\'s election was "neither free, nor fair" and that there were "serious concerns" about the fairness of the election
  • Mikhail Gorbachev the final Soviet Leader has called for new elections and stated that the election was slanted in favour of United Russia. He has demanded a rerun, stating: "The country\'s leaders must admit there were numerous falsifications and rigging and the results do not reflect the peoples\' will." He added: "I think [Russia\'s leaders] can only take one decision - annul the results of the election and hold a new one."


presidential elections
Presidential Elections
  • Elections for the presidency take place every 6 years
  • The presidential candidate must receive a majority of the popular vote in order to win
  • Failure to win a majority in the first round results in a run-off between the top two candidates in a second round of voting
  • This is known as the second-round majority/run-off voting system

2012 Presidential Election

1996 Presidential Election with run-off vote

discussion questions
Discussion Questions

1) Compare and Contrast Russia’s President with Britain’s Prime Minister. Who has more power?

2) It has been said that Russia is a procedural or illiberal democracy. What evidence supports this claim?

3) Will Putin’s election to the presidency weaken or strengthen Russia’s democracy?