Government & Law

The Russian government and political system

Discover key facts about the Russian government and the country’s political system.

Russian government

By CIA Factbook

Updated 26-3-2024

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Population: 140,041,247 (July 2009 est.)

Age structure: 0-14 years 14,8% (male 10,644,833/female 10,095,011); 15-64 years 71,5% (male 48,004,040/female 52,142,313); 65 years and over (male 5,880,877/female 13,274,173) (2009 est.)

Median age: 38,4 years (male 35,2 years/female 41,6 years) (2009 est.)

Population growth rate: -0,467% (2009 est.)

Birth rate: 11,1 births/ 1,000 population (2009 est.)

Death rate: 16, 06 deaths/1,000 population (2009 est.)

Net migration rate: 0,28 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2009 est.)

Urban population: 73% of total population (2008)

Rate of urbanization: -0,5% annual rate of change (2005-2010 est.)

Sex ratio: At birth 1,06 male(s)/female; under 15 years 1,05 male(s)/female; 15-64 years and over 0,44 ,male(s)/female; total population 0,86 male(s)/female (2009 est.)

Infant mortality rate: total 10,56 deaths/1,000 live births; male 12,08 deaths/1,000 births; female 8,94 deaths/1,000 live births (2009 est.)

Life expectancy: total population 66,03 years; male 59,33 years; female 73,14 years (2009 est.)

Total fertility rate:  1,41 children born/woman (2009 est.)

HIV/AIDS adult prevalence rate: 1,1% (2007 est.)

People living with HIV/AIDS:  940,000 (2007 est.)

HIV/AIDS deaths: 40,000 (2007 est.)


Noun: Russian; adjective: Russian

Ethnic groups

Russian 79.8%, Tatar 3,8%, Ukrainian 2%, Bashkir 1.2%, Chuvash 1.1%, other or unspecified 12.1% (2002 census)


Russian Orthodox 15-20%, Muslim 10-15%, other Christian 2% (2006 est.) note: estimates are of practicing worshipers; Russia has large populations of non-practicing believers and non-believers, a legacy of over seven decades of Soviet rule


Russian, many minority languages

Literacy (age 15+ can read and write): total population 99,4% (male 99,7%/female 99,2%)

School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education): total 14 years (male 13 years/female 14 years) (2006)

Education expenditures: 3,8% of GDP (2005)


Country name: conventional long form: Russian Federation; conventional short form: Russia; local long form: Rossiyskaya Federatsiya; local short form: Rossiya

Government type: Federation


Moscow (geographic coordinates 55 45 N, 37 35 E); time zone UTC+3; daylight saving time (+1h) begins last Sunday in March and ends last Sunday in October. Russia is divided into 11 time zones.

Administrative divisions:
46 oblasts (oblastey, singular – oblast), 21 republics (respublik, singular – respublika), 4 autonomous okrugs (avtonomnykh okrugov, singular – avtonomnyy okrug), 9 krays (krayev, singular – kray), 2 federal cities (goroda, singular – gorod), and 1 autonomous oblast (avtonomnaya 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)
krays: Altay (Barnaul), Kamchatka (Petropavlovsk-Kamchatskiy), Khabarovsk, Krasnodar, Krasnoyarsk, Perm’, Primorskiy [Maritime] (Vladivostok), Stavropol’, Zabaykal’sk (Chita)

Federal cities: Moscow [Moskva], Saint Petersburg [Sankt-Peterburg]

Autonomous oblast: Yevrey [Jewish] (Birobidzhan)

Independence: 24 August 1991 (from the Soviet Union)

National holiday

Russia Day 12 June (1990)

Constitution: adopted 12 December 1993

Legal system: Based on civil law system; judicial review of legislative acts; has not accepted compulsory ICJ jurisdiction

Suffrage: 18 years of age, universal

Executive branch:

  • Chief of state: President Dmitriy Anatolyevich Medvedev (since 7 May 2008). He was elected for a four-year term (eligible for a second term), however, the term length was extended in 2008 to six years, going into effect in the elections of 2012. There is no vice president; if the president dies in office or is not able to exercise his power for whatever reason, the premier is to serve as acting president until new elections are held, which must be within three months.
  • Head of government: Premier Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin (since 8 May 2008)
  • First deputy premiers: Igor Ivanovich Shuvalov, Viktor Alekseyevich Zubkov (since 12 May 2008)
  • Deputy premiers: Sergey Borisovish Ivanov (since 12 May 2008), Dmitryi Nikolayevich Kozak (since 14 October 2008), Aleksey Leonidovich Kudrin (since 24 September 2007), Igor Ivanovich Sechin (since 12 May 2008), Sergey Semenovich Sobyanin (since 12 May 2008), Aleksandr Dmitiyevich Zhukov (since 9 March 2004)
  • Cabinet: Ministries of the Government or “Government” composed of the premier and his deputies, ministers, and selected other individuals; all are appointed by the president
  • Presidential Administration: provides staff and policy support to the president, drafts presidential decrees, and coordinates policy among government agencies.

Legislative branch: bicameral Federal Assembly or Federalnoye Sobraniye consists of an upper house, the Federation Council or Sovet Federatsii (168 seats; as of July 2000, members appointed by the top executive and legislative officials in each of the 84 federal administrative units – oblasts, krays, republics, autonomous okrugs and oblasts, and the federal cities of Moscow and Saint Petersburg; serve four-year terms) and a lower house, the State Duma or Gosudarstvennaya Duma (450 seats; as of 2007, all members elected by proportional representation from party lists winning at least 7% of the vote; members elected by popular vote to serve four-year terms)

Elections: State Duma – last held 2 December 2007 (next to be held in December 2011)

Election results: State Duma – United Russia 64.3%, CPRF 11.5%, LDPR 8.1%, Just Russia 7.7%, other 8.4%; total seats by party – United Russia 315, CPRF 57, LDPR 40, Just Russia 38

Judicial branch: Constitutional Court; Supreme Court; Supreme Arbitration Court; judges for all courts are appointed for life by the Federation Council on the recommendation of the president

Political parties and leaders:  A Just Russia [Sergey Mironov]; Communist Party of the Russian Federation or CPRF [Gennadiy Andreyevich Zyganov]; Liberal Democratic Party of Russia or LDPR [Vladimir Volfovich Zhirinovkiy]; Patriots of Russia [Gennadiy Semigin]; People’s Union [Sergey Baburin]; Right Cause [Leonid Yakovlevich Gozman, Boris Yuriyevich Titov, and Georgiy Georgiyevich Bovt] (registration pending; formed from merger of Union of Right Forces, Democratic Party of Russia, and Civic Force); United Russia [Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin]; Yabloko Party [Sergey Sergeyevich Mitrokhin]

Political pressure groups and leaders: Association of Citizens with Initiative of Russia (TIGR); Confederation of Labour of Russia (KTR); Federation of Independent Labour Unions of Russia; Freedom of Choice Interregional Organization of Automobilists; Glasnost Defence Foundation; Golos Association in Defence of Voters’ Rights; Greenpeace Russia; Human Rights Watch (Russian chapter); Institute for Collective Action; Memorial (human rights group); Movement Against Illegal Migration; Pamjat (preservation of historical monuments and recording of history); Russian Orthodox Church; Russian Federation of Car Owners; Russian-Chechen Friendship Society; SOVA Analytical-Information Centre; Union of the Committees of Soldiers’ Mothers; World Wildlife Fund (Russian chapter)

International organisation participation: APEC, Arctic Council, ARF, ASEAN (dialogue partner), BIS, BSEC, CBSS, CE, CERN (observer), CICA, CIS, CSTO, EAEC, EAPC, EBRD, FATF, G-20, G-8, GCTU, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC, ICCt (signatory), ICRM, IDA, IFC, IFRCS, IHO, ILO, IMF, IMO, IMSO, Interpol, IOC, IOM (observer), IPU, ISO, ITSO, ITU, ITUC, LAIA (observer), MIGA, MINURCAT, MINURSO, MONUC, NSG, OAS (observer), OECD (accession state), OIC (observer), OPCW, OSCE, Paris Club, PCA, PFP, SCO, UN, UN Security Council, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNHCR, UNIDO, UNITAR, UNMIL, UNMIS, UNOCI, UNTSO, UNWTO, UPU, WCO, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO (observer), ZC

Diplomatic representation in the US: chief of mission: Ambassador Sergey Ivanovich Kislyak; chancery: 2650 Wisconsin Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20007; telephone: [1] (202) 298-5700, 5701, 5704, 5708; fax: [1] (202) 298-5735; consulate(s) general: Houston, New York, San Francisco, Seattle

Diplomatic representation from the US: chief of mission: Ambassador John R. Beyrle; embassy: Bolshoy Deviatinskiy Pereulok No. 8, 121099 Moscow
mailing address: PSC-77, APO AE 09721; telephone: [7] (495) 728-5000
FAX: [7] (495) 728-5090; consulate(s) general: Saint Petersburg, Vladivostok, Yekaterinburg