At a Glance:
Government Portal [Russian]
Year became a federation: 1991
Current constitution in force since: 1993
Constituent units:83 constituent units: 21 republics, 9 krais, 46 oblasts, 2 federal cities, 1 autonomous oblast, and 4 autonomous okrugs
Head of State: President
Head of Government: Prime Minister
Lower House: State Duma [Russian]
Our work in Russia
Starting in 2001, the Forum has worked with local partners in Russia to organize learning events on issues ranging from intergovernmental relations to diversity in Russia’s federal system.
Federalism in Russia
The Russian Federation is the world’s largest federal state with more than 100 distinct nationalities and ethnic groups. Russia’s greatest federal challenge is finding how to balance regional powers and identities within a unified federal country.
The 1993 constitution, adopted after the Soviet Union’s fall, outlined a political system that is a unique hybrid of a presidential and parliamentary republic. But Russia has shifted its post-Soviet democratic ambitions in favour of a strong centralized state in which regional powers are strictly limited.
In the 15th and 16th centuries, European Russia came under Moscow’s control, and tsars (kings) led the empire’s expansion. Modernization, industrialization and revolts against the autocratic system of government and the First World War’s hardships, led to the overthrow of the tsarist regime in the early 20th century.
Bolshevik forces seized power in 1917 and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics was formed after the 1917-21 civil war. Federal status was enshrined in the 1936 constitution, but the federal model during the Soviet period was a façade that veiled a highly centralized system run by the Communist Party.
Nationalist tensions and demands for democracy from the federation’s members initiated the downfall of the Soviet Union, which disintegrated after a failed 1991 hard-line coup attempt into the Russian Federation and 14 other independent republics.
* Development assistance program countries