since 23 September 2020
(Formation process changed since December 1995, abolishing the elections)
The Federation Council (
Each of the 89
The council holds its sessions within the Main Building on Bolshaya Dmitrovka Street in
For purposes of
The modern history of the Federation Council begins during the
Following the crushing of the Congress of People's Deputies and other members of the
The procedure of formation of the Federation Council through elections held according to the majority system was defined by Presidential Decrees No. 1626 from 11 October 1993 "On Elections to the Council of Federation of the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation" and No. 1846 from 6 November 1993 "On Specification to the Resolution on Elections of Deputies to the State Duma and Resolution on Elections of Deputies to the Council of Federation of the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation in 1993".
Similar to the United States Senate, the Federation Council would consist of two representatives from each of Russia's federal subjects. Unlike the State Duma, which consisted of hundreds of districts nationwide, the Federation Council was to act as more or less the voice of Russia's federated subdivisions. Early debate on its creation centered on whether or not the Federation Council should be elected at all. To solve some problems on the Council's first scheduled election in December, Yeltsin issued Presidential Decree No. 1628 on 11 October, stipulating that candidates for the first elections needed at least two percent, or 25,000 signatures—whichever was highest—of their oblast, republic, krai, autonomous okrug, or federal city population. This helped previous territorial elites remain within national politics. The decree also stipulated a single term of two years before new elections in 1995.
The Council's first elections were held on 12 December 1993, simultaneously with State Duma elections and a referendum on the new
The constitution, however, did not specify how senators were to be elected. By 1995, using this constitutional anomaly, regional executives could sit ex officio in both their regional executive posts and within the Federation Council. While the State Duma did much of the serious debates on Russian policy during this time, the Council became a lobby for regional interests, competing for federal attention.
The ascension of President Vladimir Putin following Yeltsin's resignation on 31 December 1999 brought many new changes to the Federation Council. As part of his top political goals in his first months of office in 2000, Putin proposed a reform law to change the makeup of the Council, which would allow regional governors to designate councillors but not sit on the Council themselves, freeing it from what Putin saw as blatant personal cronyism on the part of regional leaders. The Council furiously resisted Putin's plan, conscious that their role in federal politics, their very ability to enjoy the fruits of living within Moscow, and their parliamentary immunity would end. With the State Duma threatening to override a Council veto, and Putin's threats to open federal criminal investigations on regional governors, the Council backed down and grudgingly supported the law in July 2000. In their place, a wave of new Kremlin-friendly senators took the vacated seats, complete with the full backing of Putin. The last of these dual senator-governors were rotated out of office in early 2002.
Since 2000, the Federation Council has largely remained a stable body. However, critics have charged that Putin's tactics in reforming the Council were blatantly undemocratic and anti-federal, arguing that the reforms created a
Officers and members
As set in Article 101 of the
The current chairman is Valentina Matviyenko.
Senators can retain membership in their respective parties. However, they are asked not to bring party factionalism to the floor itself. Since the reforms of 2000, the Council has enjoyed a significantly close relationship with the Kremlin, helping to pass key legislation the Kremlin desires easily.
According to Article 98, all the members of the Council enjoy immunity from arrest, detainment, and searches. In 2007 the law on the Federation Council was amended, and now a senator must have resided for at least ten years in the territory he is representing.
The Federal Law defines the status of members of the Federation Council: "On Status of Members of the Council of Federation and Status of Deputy of the State Duma of the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation".
Unlike the State Duma, with its division of parties and leaders, in 2002 parliamentary groups were forbidden following Mironov's election to the chairmanship and the parliamentary procedures to disband all political factions though the members are affiliated with some major Russian political parties.
Unlike the State Duma and the
According to Article 95, the Council comprises representatives of each Russian federal subject—two from each. The provincial legislature elects one senator, and the other is nominated by the provincial governor and confirmed by the legislature. Before 2000, all provincial governors and heads of provincial legislatures were also members of the Council. Upon President Putin's ascension to the Russian presidency, this practice was discontinued under pressure from the Kremlin, forbidding governors to hold dual posts.
Terms to the Council are also not nationally fixed, due to the continuing territorial nature of the chamber. Terms instead are determined according to the regional bodies they represent.
In 2001–2004 regional bodies were able to recall their senator by the same procedure by which they appointed them. Such recalls once occurred quite often. But a new law passed in December 2004 required that the chairman of the Federation Council must first initiate a recall procedure. The procedure has not been implemented since.
On 1 January 2013, the latest Law on the Procedure to Form the Federation Council entered into force: According to the Law, the Federation Council consists of two delegates from each Russian constituent component, one representing the given region's legislative assembly and the other representing the provincial executive authorities. There will be two different election procedures, one for each member type. (Federal Law No. 229, art. 1.1.) Candidates for the Senator from a constituent component's legislature must be a member of the component region's legislative assembly. Candidates are nominated as a candidate by the chairman of the regional legislative assembly, by one party faction represented in the assembly, or by at least one-fifth of the assembly members. Then, the regional legislative assembly will vote for one of the nominated candidates.
An amendment to the law was approved in July 2014, which add 17 more senators who are nominated by the president.
The regional executive authority representative, the second type of delegate to the Federation Council, is appointed by the Governor of that constituent component (or the Head of that autonomous republic). The delegate is selected from among three people named by the candidates for the office of governor/head of the concerned region. The winner of the gubernatorial/republican leadership election appoints one of the three delegates previously named for appointment to the Council as a senator of said region.
The Federation Council is viewed as a more formal chamber of the Federal Assembly. Because of its federalist design and its voting franchise strictly limited to provincial elites, the Council is viewed as less volatile to radical changes.
The Council is charged with cooperating with the State Duma in completing and voting on draft laws. Federal laws concerning budgets, customs regulations, credit monitoring, and the ratification of international treaties are to be considered by the Council after they have been adopted from the State Duma, where most legislation is introduced.
Special powers that are accorded only to senators of the Federation Council are:
- Approval of changes in borders between the subjects of the Russian Federation;
- Approval of a decree of the President of the Russian Federation on the introduction of martial law;
- Approval of a decree of the President of the Russian Federation on the introduction of a state of emergency;
- Deciding on the possibility of using the Armed Forces of the Russian Federationoutside the territory of the Russian Federation;
- Declaring of elections of the President of the Russian Federation;
- Impeachment of the President of the Russian Federation;
- Approving the president's nomination of judges of the Supreme Court of the Russian Federation, of the Supreme Arbitration Court of the Russian Federal government;
- Approving the president's nomination of the Prosecutor General of the Russian Federation;
- Appointment of Deputy Chairman and half of the auditors of the Accounting Chamber.
For laws to pass the Federation Council, a vote of more than half of its 178 senators is required. When considering federal constitutional laws, three-fourths of the Council's votes are required for passage. If the Council vetoes a law passed by the State Duma, the two chambers are mandated to form a Conciliation Committee in order to form a compromise document, on which both houses would have to vote again. A two-thirds majority of Duma deputies can overcome the Federation Council's veto.
Committees form a key component of the structure of the Council. Sixteen committees and seven commissions exist for senators to consider legislation and policy on several issues ranging from foreign affairs, federal affairs, and youth and sports. Leadership in these committees are determined by the Council Chairman, who remains in correspondence with their findings. These committees include:
- Committee on Constitutional Legislation
- Committee on Judicial and Legal Affairs
- Committee on Defence and Security
- Budgetary Committee
- Committee on Financial Markets and Currency Circulation
- Foreign Affairs Committee
- Committee on the Commonwealth of Independent States
- Committee on Federal Affairs and Regional Policies
- Committee on Local Government
- Social Policy Committee
- Committee on Economic Policy, Business and Ownership
- Industrial Policy Committee
- Committee on Natural Resources and Environmental Protection
- Committee on Food and Agricultural Policies
- Committee for Science, Culture, Education, Public Health and Ecology
- Committee on Northern Territories and Indigenous Minorities
- Commission on Standing Orders and Parliamentary Performance Organisation
- Commission for the Council of Federation's Performance Maintenance Monitoring
- Commission on Ways and Means of the Council of Federation's Constitutional Powers Implementation
- Commission for Interaction with the Accounts Chamber of the Russian Federation
- Commission on Youth and Sports
- Commission on Information Policy
- Commission on Natural Monopolies
Chairpeople of the Federation Council
- Vladimir Shumeyko 13 January 1994 – 23 January 1996
- Yegor Stroyev 23 January 1996 – 5 December 2001
- Sergey Mironov 5 December 2001 – 18 May 2011
- Aleksander Torshin19 May – 21 September 2011 (Acting)
- Valentina Matviyenko 21 September 2011 – present day
Presidential Envoys to the Federation Council
- Aleksandr Yakovlev(18 February 1994 – 10 February 1996; as Presidential Envoy to the Federal Assembly)
- Anatoly Sliva (10 February 1996 – 27 October 1998)
- Yury Yarov (7 December 1998 – 13 April 1999)
- Vyacheslav Khizhnyakov (12 May 1999 – 5 April 2004)
- Alexander Kotenkov (5 April 2004 – 30 October 2013)
- Artur Muravyov (Since 30 October 2013)
- McFaul, Michael. Russia's Unfinished Revolution. Ithaca, New York: Cornell University Press, 2001.
- Herspring, Dale R. Putin's Russia. Lanham, Maryland: Rowman and Littlefield Publishers, 2005.
- "Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation". Archived from the original on 2020-05-03. Retrieved 2020-04-30.
- "Пост Председателя Совета Федерации РФ – это третий пост в стране. В случае недееспособности президента и премьера именно председатель верхней палаты парламента должен возглавить государство."
- "Почему у нас третье лицо в государстве Председатель Совета Федерации? Потому что это федерация, он не распускается, он действует постоянно." - Сергей Шахрай
- Roudik, Peter (4 January 2013). "Russia: New Procedure to Form the Parliament's Upper Chamber". Global Legal Monitor. Law Library of Congress (public domain text incorporated directly on to this page). Retrieved 21 September 2014.
- Полномочным представителем Президента в Совете Федерации назначен Артур Муравьёв // Президент России
- Руководство и основные должностные лица Администрации Президента России // Президент России
- Official Website of the Federation Council (in Russian)
- Official Website of the Federation Council
- Official Website of the Chairman of the Federation Council