A Case Study of Russian Political System



University Affiliation



Russia is one of the most recent countries to adopt democracy. This happened in the 1990s after the Soviet Union had fragmented, where most of the countries from the union including Russia, which was previously governed through communism, announced plans of embracing democratic principles of governance.

The system is made of the President, The Executive, The State Duma, The Federation Council, Political Parties and The Judiciary.

The President is the head of state, supreme commander of armed forces, the guarantor of the Constitution and Rights, and the holder of the highest office of the Russian Federation (Ambrosio 2016). The president possesses strong powers to issue directives without legislative review since adopting the 1993 constitution. Despite this, the Constitution has been further amended for the president, for instance, the extension of the president’s ruling term from 4 to 6 years.

The Executive consists of the Russian’s government chairman, who also happens to be the prime minister. The president appoints the prime minister.The deputy prime minister and ministers are also appointed by the president after the prime minister has proposed them. The president proposes the chairperson of the federal bank of Russia, and he/she is appointed by State Duma (Budge,2014).

When talking of The State Duma, we refer to the lower house of the Federal Assembly. It has a substantial authority and is responsible for the passing of all bills. Unlike the presidential term that lasts for six years, the State Duma is elected for four years and has 450 members referred to as deputies. It also possesses the powers to resign the government. However, these controls are compromised since the president has the authority to disregard this vote ( Putin, 2014).

The Federal Council, which has 170 members ( senators), is the upper house of the Russian Federal Assembly. Issues from the house are not nationally fixed but rather are determined by the region of the representative. The house has powers to reject a proposal by the state Duma on the federal laws, constitutional laws or any amendments to the constitution preferred by the Duma, and its only after their approval the president can sign the proposal into law.

The main political party is the United Russia, and the main opposition party is the Communist Party. The United Russia party is formed from the merging of several parties founded on 2001. It dominates the State Duma, and The Federal Council thus assuring the president’s command in the two houses.

The Judiciary consists of 19 judges of the constitutional course all appointed by the president. From the 19 judges, we have the chairperson and the deputy. The judicial system consists of three types of courts; constitutional courts dealing with complaints on constitutional laws and regulations; courts of general jurisdiction, that handle disputes, civil cases, and criminal cases; and specialized state commercial courts dealing with commercial disputes.


Russia may technically be viewed as a democratic state since its leaders are lawfully elected but don’t practice liberal democracy due to its negligence to protect people’s right and allow free press. The constitution adopted on December 1993 also gave the president substantial authority to issue directives without the legislative’s review. Several amendments to the constitution have also been made, including the extension of the ruling term of the president, which undermines the will of the citizens.


Ambrosio, Thomas. Authoritarian backlash: Russian resistance to democratization in the former Soviet Union. Routledge, 2016.

Budge, Ian, Lan Budge, and Kenneth Newton. The politics of the new Europe: Atlantic to the Urals. Routledge, 2014.

Putin, Vladimir. “Address by President of the Russian Federation.” President of Russia 18 (2014).