The Russian Federation (ru: Российская Федерация) is a country in northern Eurasia, covering some 40% of Europe and roughly as much of Asia. It is a semi-presidential republic, comprising 15 federal subjects.
Officially it's known as both Russia and the Russian Federation (Russian: Россия/Российская Федерация).
Russia has the world's largest reserves of mineral and energy resources.
History & Name etymologyEdit
The Russian Federation is internationally recognized as the successor state to the Tsardom of Muskovy (~800-1703), the Russian Empire (1703-1917) and the Soviet Union (1922-1991). The Russian Federation was, together with 14 other Soviet Socialist Republics but a part of the Soviet Union, but since Russia accounted for 80% of its GDP and 75% of its population the UN has ruled that Russia is to be seen as the indirect successor in international relations to the USSR.
Up until the adoption of the 1993 constitution Russia was officially named the Russian Socialist Federative Soviet Republic (ru: Российская Социалистическая Федеративная Советская Республика) , this although the Soviet Union ceased to exist already in 1991. Since 1993 the country is officially known as both Russia and the Russian Federation.
The country's original name was Русь (Rus'), a medieval state populated mostly by the Early East Slavs. However, this proper name became more prominent in the later history, and the country typically was called by its inhabitants "Русская Земля" (russkaya zemlya) which could be translated as "Russian Land" or "Land of Rus'". The difference between the two terms would be like the difference between, for example, "Germany" and "German Land" or "Land of Germans". In order to distinguish this state from other states derived from it, it is denoted as Kievan Rus' by modern historiography.
An old Latin version of the name Rus' was Ruthenia, mostly applied to the western and southern regions of Rus' that were adjacent to Catholic Europe. The current name of the country, Россия (Rossiya), comes from the Greek version of Rus', spelled Ρωσία [rosˈia], which was the denomination of Kievan Rus in the Byzantine Empire.
- Main article: National Symbols of the Russian Federation
- Main article: State Hymn of the Russian Federation
The State Anthem of the Russian Federation is the national anthem of Russia, "Государственный Гимн Российской Федерации" in Russian.
Watch the anthem being played on the Red Square here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=66-yfZUrLi8
The flag of Russia (Russian: Флаг России, Flag Rossii) is a tricolour of three equal horizontal fields, white on the top, blue in the middle and red on the bottom. In February 2010 the Russian coat of arms was charged in the centre, some analysts has said this reflects the imperial aspirations of the "new Russia".
A 2:5 ratio version of the Russian flag is used when the President is at sea and a square version to denote the presence of the Russian President.
The Soviet/Russian Victory Banner (Russian: Знамя Победы) is the banner that was raised by Red Army soldiers on the Reichstag in Berlin, in 1945.
On Victory Day, 9 May, the same banner that was raised over the Reichstag is hoisted over the Kremlin together with the National Flag. A copy of the banner is carried immediately behind the flag of the Russian Federation by members of the Presidential Guard during the Victory Day parade in Moscow.
The Cyrillic inscription reads: "150th Rifle, Order of Kutuzov 2nd class, 'Idritskaya' Division, 79th Rifle Corps, 3rd Shock Army, 1st Byelorussian Front."
President of the Russian FederationEdit
- Main article: President of the Russian Federation
The current president is Nikolay Sheremetyev, elected on the 12th of October 2010.
The official residence of the President is the Moscow Kremlin, often referred to as simply "the Kremlin". It also refers to the Russian government as a whole, e.g. "the Kremlin has decided that.." The study of Russian politics and the Russian government is called Kremlinology.
Chairman of the government of the Russian FederationEdit
- Main article: Prime Minister of the Russian Federation
The Chairman of the Government of the Russian Federation is the second most powerful official of the Russian Federation, who, under Article 12 of the Constitutional Law On the Government of the Russian Federation, "heads the Government of the Russian Federation".
The use of the term "Prime Minister" is strictly informal and is not allowed for by the Russian Constitution and other laws because the supreme executive powers are constitutionally vested in the President of Russia, who is also Russia's head of state.
The Prime Minister may be dismissed by the President at any time at President's own discretion. The Chairman may also tender his resignation to the President on his own initiative. The President may reject such resignation and oblige him to work further. The resignation of the Prime Minister automatically means the resignation of the whole government as a body.
Since the 2010 constitutional reform the Russian Federation has a tricameral legislative system. The new system has increased the powers of the president enormously. The legislative (called Federal Assembly as a whole) consists of the State Duma ("lower house"), the Federal Council ("upper house") and the Federal Senate which supervises both of them.
the State DumaEdit
Decrees of the State Duma are adopted by a majority of the total number of deputies of the State Duma, unless another procedure is envisaged by the Constitution.
The duties of the State Duma as stated in the constitution;
- consent to the appointment of the Prime Minister of Russia;
- hearing annual reports from the Government of the Russian Federation on the results of its work, including on issues raised by the State Duma;
- deciding the issue of confidence in the Government of the Russian Federation;
- appointment and dismissal of the Chairman of the Central Bank of Russia;
- appointment and dismissal of the Chairman and half of the auditors of the Accounts Chamber;
- appointment and dismissal of the Commissioner for Human Rights, who shall act according to federal constitutional law;
- bringing charges against the President of the Russian Federation for his impeachment (requires a 75% majority);
In the legislative elections 12 of the federal subjects send 24 representatives each to the State Duma, the Federal Cities of Moscow and St. Petersburg each sends 53 representatives and 1 representative is appointed to the post of Speaker of the State Duma by the president, adding up to 395 delegates in the State Duma.
the Federal CouncilEdit
The Federal Council has 82 members, 40 of them are members for life, appointed by the president, the other 42 are elected 3 from each federal subject, with the exception of the Federal cities of Moscow and St. Petersburg that each sends 4 plus one appointed by the president. The members appointed by the president can and may be removed from their post at any time by the president.
The Council is charged in 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.
the Federal SenateEdit
A supervisory body consisting of members appointed by the president. The two most notable powers it has are;
- the power of vetoing the decision of impeachment of the President of the Russian Federation made by the State Duma. This has to be done by a 75% majority.
- if the president should dismiss the government, the Senate functions as a government until a new Prime Minister has been appointed by the president.
the Constitutional CourtEdit
Constitutional Court of Russian Federation (Russian: Конституционный Суд Российской Федерации) is a high court which is empowered to rule on whether or not certain laws or presidential decrees are in fact contrary to the Constitution of Russia. Its objective is only to protect the Constitution.
Supreme Court of the Russian FederationEdit
The Supreme Court of the Russian Federation (Russian: Верховный Суд Российской Федерации) is the court of last resort in Russian administrative law, civil law and criminal law cases. It also supervises the work of lower courts.
Supreme Court of Arbitration of the Russian FederationEdit
The Supreme Court of Arbitration of the Russian Federation is the court of final instance in commercial disputes in Russia. Additionally, it supervises the work of lower courts of arbitration and gives interpretation of laws and elucidations concerning their implementations, which are compulsory for lower courts.
Subdivision of the FederationEdit
- Main article: Subdivision of the Russian Federation
Russia is a federation that consists of 14 subjects. There are 3 different categories of subjects in use, Federal Republic, Federal City and Federal Special Administrative Region.
As of March 2010 there are a total of 104 registered political parties in the Russian Federation. Of those only 4 parties has a large enough support to have seats in the State Duma. The Constitution of the Russian Federation states that a party must have a support of at least 7% to gain seats in the State Duma. Since 2005 the United Russia party has held a firm grip of power in Russia. It has a majority in all functions of government.
The following elections are required by the Constitution to be held on a federal level in the Russian Federation:
- Presidential elections, held every 4th year
- Legislative elections, held every 4th year
In addition following local elections are required to be held:
- Election of Executive Authority (President/Governor/Mayor of a Subject)
- Elections of the Subjects Legislative
- Municipality elections
Central Election CommissionEdit
The Central Election Commission of the Russian Federation (Russian: Центральная избирательная комиссия Российской Федерации) is the superior power body responsible for conducting federal elections and overseeing local elections in the Russian Federation. It consists of 115 members of which the President of the Russian Federation appoints 85 and the State Duma and the Federal Senate of Russia each appoint 15 members. In turn, these members elect the Chairman, Deputy Chairman and Secretary. The Commission is in power for a two-year term.
The Central Election Commission of the Russian Federation gathers all election ballots to their headquarters in Moscow where the votes are counted. The only supervising body is the Constitutional Court of the Russian Federation. All votes are registered in the Central Archives of the Government of the Russian Federation.
The Armed Forces of the Russian Federation was created in 1992 following the breakup of the Soviet Union and the formation of the Russian Federation. The Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces is the President of the Russian Federation.
The Defence Ministry of the Russian Federation serves as the administrative body of the Armed Forces. Russia is currently re-organizing it's army from having used conscription since tsarist times to a permanent professional army.
The Russian military is divided into the following branches: Ground Forces and the Air Force, and there are also three independent arms of service: the Strategic Missile Troops, the Armed Space Forces and the Airborne Troops.
The Ground Forces are divided into 6 (7) military districts:
- Moscow Military District
- Leningrad Military District
- North Caucasus Military District
- Volga-Ural Military District
- Siberian Military District
- Far East Military District
The Strategic Rocket ForcesEdit
The Strategic Rocket Forces is currently commanded by General of the Army, Nikolai Serdyukov. The use of the BCMs has to be authorized by the president.
Topol-M, Topol-RD and Bulava MissilesEdit
As of July 2010 the Russian Federation has completely renewed it's arsenal of intercontinental ballistic missiles. The Topol-M is the main type, designed to carry up to 15 MIRVs. The Topol-RD is for launching satellites or similar into orbit. The Bulava is the submarine based version of the missile.
- In its Russian designation РТ stands for "ракета твердотопливная," Raketa Tverdotoplivnaya ("solid fuel rocket"), while УТТХ - for "улучшенные тактико-технические характеристики," uluchshenniye taktiko-tekhnicheskie kharahteristiki ("improved tactical and technical characteristics"). "Topol" (тополь) in Russian means "poplar".
- In the Russian-Cosmerian War in the fall of 2009 the Topol-M missiles performed excellently. The 15th Strategic Rocket Ground Forces Division launched several successful missile attacks on the Cosmerian forces.
- Both the Topol-M and the Bulava missiles are designed to carry up to 5 nuclear warheads each. It is planned that the Russian Federation will start developing missiles equipped with nuclear warheads in fall 2010.
The Federal Security Service of the Russian Federation is the main domestic security service of the Russian Federation. The FSB is involved mainly in internal affairs, border security, and surveillance, but participates also in some counter-intelligence and counter-terrorism operations which are mostly operated by the KGB. Both the FSB and the KGB are subordinated the Office of the President of the Russian Federation and they answer to the President only.
The KGB (ru: Комитет Государственной Бесопасности, Komitet gosudarstvennoy bezopasnosti), Committee for State Security in English, is the "secret police" of Russia. Most of the information of what the agency is doing remains classified. President Romanov confirmed the existence of the agency in 2006. After that very little information has been given by the Kremlin on what the exact purpose of the agency is.
Federal Space Agency of the Russian FederationEdit
- Main article: Federal Space Agency of the Russian Federation
The Federal Space Agency of the Russian Federation (Russian:Федеральное космическое агентство Российской Федерации or Federal'noye kosmicheskoye agentstvo Rossiyskoy Federacii), commonly called Roskosmos (ru:Роскосмос) is the government agency responsible for the Russian space science program and general aerospace research.
The Russian Federation maintains diplomatic relations with all nations in the world, with only a hand full exceptions. Foreign relations is handled by the President and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. In the case of a military conflict, according to the Constitution all foreign business is to be administered by the President and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs up until a declaration of war has been given, after which the matter is transferred to the Ministry of Defence.
Successor state to the Soviet UnionEdit
The Russian Federation is generally considered by the international community to be the successor state of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. Although there has never been any particular legal recognition of this the view is widely accepted. The only states that has made opposition against the Russian Federation as a successor to the USSR are the Baltic states, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania (interestingly all three former Soviet republics).
On the 19th of September 1992 the leaders of the Ukraine, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Armenia, Uzbekhistan, Kirgyzistan, Turkmenistan and Azerbaijan signed a common document where they all (as former constituent republics of the USSR) recognized;
- 1) that the Russian Federation would inherit all of the Soviet Union's heavy military equipment, thus also inheriting all international treaties signed by the government of the USSR concerning arms restrictions.
- 2) that the seat of the USSR on the UN security council shall be the one of the Russian Federation, this because of
- a) the Russian Socialist Federative Soviet Republic (after 1991; Russian Federation) was equal to 74,9% of the total national territory of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics and
- b) the population of the RSFSR was equal to about three thirds of the population of the USSR.
Because of the instability in the Soviet Union in the late 1980s the Soviet economy went into recession and finally begun to shrink in 1990. Following the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 inflation increased (to almost 40% and the the economy was generally in a sorry state. But it was because of the radical re-distribution of the national resources under the "Capitalization Program" of president Zhukov that the country plunged into poverty from 1994 to 1996 the economy shrunk by almost 60%, the inflation grew with 1020% in one year and by the end of 1996 almost 30% of the country's population lived under the poverty line. The final blow to the Russian economy in the 90s came in 1998 when the price of oil went from 120$ a barrel to 13$ in 24 hours. With the Russian state practically bankrupt, president Ilyushin (1996-2003) devalued the already weak inflating Russian rouble, which resulted in that the Russian economy started a slow growth in 1998, but the population census in 1999 showed that almost 60% of the population lived under the poverty line.
Following the devaluation of the Russian rouble in 1998 the economy continued to grow in the beginning of the 2000s. But it is largely because of first of all the rise of the price of oil and natural gas, the nationalization of companies and a stable currency that the Russian Federation has experienced the largest growth in its history, the only comparable example being the economic growth under Stalin's regime in the 1930s. The economy grew with 93% 2005-2006, 68% 2006-2007 and has had an annual growth of 8 to 15% since. In 2006 the Russian economy surpassed the level on which the Soviet economy was on in 1990. Following this economic growth cities as St. Petersburg, Irkutsk, Volgograd, Kiev, Minsk and Yekaterinburg have become major economic centres, but the most impressive example is provided by the capital, Moscow, that has had an economic growth estimated at between 2000 and 4000% since 1998. In 2010 only 8% of the Russian population is estimated to live below the poverty line, compared to almost 60% in 1999.
Bank of RussiaEdit
- Main article: Central Bank of the Russian Federation
- Main article: Moscow, Russian Federation
- Main article: Saint Petersburg
The capital of the Russian Empire 1705-1917. It is generally accepted as the cultural capital of the Russian Federation, it is also a major economical and political centre in the north-western part of the country. St. Petersburg is also the biggest export harbour in Europe, handling goods brought from as far as the Asian part of Siberia.
St. Petersburg also has an enormous cultural heritage, grand palaces and huge parks in late baroque style. From 1928 to 1991 the city was named Leningrad. The federal region is still named Leningrad Oblast.
Formerly named Sverdlovsk, the city is today a big political centre in western Siberia. Steel and oil are the main products coming from the city.
Irkutsk is the absolute political centre of the Asian part of Russia. A growing number of Chinese immigrants has contributed to the rapid growth of the city.
Vladivostok is the home of the Pacific Fleet. A large number of the Russian ballistic missiles are located here.
One of the largest problems the Russian government is facing is the nations demographics. The rapidly growing Russian economy has needs greater than the Russian population can offer. In 2008 there were 3,2 jobs/unemployed. The situation eased a little bit in the beginning of 2009 when the government issued permit to 2,000 foreign workers to work in the Russian Federation for 24 months.
Language and religionEdit
Russian is the only official state language, but the Constitution gives the individual republics the right to make their native language co-official next to Russian. Despite its wide dispersal, the Russian language is homogeneous throughout Russia.
Russian Orthodoxy is the dominant religion in Russia, less than 1% considered themselves either Buddhist, Catholic, Protestant or Jewish. Another 12% said they believe in God, but did not practice any religion, and 16% said they are non-believers. Because of the terrorist attacks in the Moscow metro in 2004 islam (both sunni and shiite) was banned in the Russian Federation from 2004 to 2010, when it was again legalized. The practising of it was then treated as a legal offence similar to planning terrorism or other contra-state action. Although legalized there are still an estimated 100-120 persons imprisoned because of the ban.
Television and InternetEdit
The government-owned All-Russia State Television and Radio Company (Russian: Всероссийская государственная телевизионная и радиовещательная компания) operates most of media output in the Russian Federation. Foreign channels has to acquire a license of broadcast in every subject of the Russian Federation. Foreign channels may not transmit in the national network.
Channels operated by the government and percentage state owned:
- Channel One - Первый Канал (99%)
- RossiyaPlaneta (99%)
- Telekanal Rossiya - Телеканал Россия (60%)
- RossiyaKultura - РоссияКультура (60%)
- RossiyaSport - РоссияСпорт (60%)
- RossiyaMir - РоссияМир (60%)
- NTV - НТВ (55%)
Privately Owned Channels:
- TelevidenyeRossiya (State Owned 34%)
[.ru] is the Internet country code top-level domain (ccTLD) for the Russian Federation and since August 2009 the Russian Federation has also reserved the right to use the domain [.su] (Soviet Union).
The authorities has according to the National Security act in 2004 the right to shut down Internet sites considered harmful to the national security of the Russian Federation. Some controversy arose in the 2004 presidential elections when 3 of the 6 candidates Internet sites were shut down by the FSB.
The New Year is the first in the calendar. Currently the New Year is a bigger holiday than Christmas in Russia. At midnight the Presidents New Year's speech is broad casted on all television channels.
Independence Day 12.1 Edit
Is celebrated since 2010 to commemorate the fall of the Russian Empire-alliance.
Constitution Day 29.4Edit
Commemoration of the adoption of the 1993 constitution, the first truly democratic in Russia.
Victory Day 9.5.Edit
Every 9 May, Russia celebrates the victory over Nazi Germany, while remembering those who died in order to achieve it. On 9 May 1945 (by Moscow time) the German military surrendered to the Soviet Union and the Allies of World War II in Berlin (Karlshorst). An enormous military parade is held on Red Square in Moscow to celebrate the day. It is by far the biggest Russian holiday.
Day of National Unity 4.11.Edit
Unity Day, first celebrated in 2005, commemorates the popular uprising led by Kuzma Minin and Dmitry Pozharsky which ejected the Polish invaders from Moscow in November of 1612.
Defenders of the Motherland Day 23.11Edit
On this day Russia honours those who are presently serving in the Armed Forces and those who have served in the past.
Since 1992 Christmas has been openly observed in Russia and now the New Year's celebration usually flows into the celebration of the Russian Orthodox Christmas. Russian Christmas comes two weeks later than in other countries, on January 7. This difference is due to the Russian Orthodox Church that follows the Julian (old style) calendar.