Russia is a federal presidential republic with a multi-party system. The Constitution states that the President of Russia is head of state with a Prime Minister acting as head of government. The Prime Minister is actually appointed by the President with the parliament's approval. Legislative power is held by two departments, the State Duma and the Federation Council which make-up the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation. The President and the government are also able to issue legally binding by-laws.
Since the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, there have been intense struggles for power within the Russian leadership. Conflict came to a head in September of 1993 when President Boris Yeltsin used military force to dissolve the current government. A stronger constitution was created in December of that year. Some of the tension was eased by this new constitution, but there is still a deep division between the reformist executive branch and the anti-reform communists and nationalists of the lower house.
The Russian parliament, known as the State Duma, is the lower house of the legislative branch Federal Assembly of Russia and is located close to Manege Square.
The upper house, the Federation Council of Russia, is also here. Made up of 84 federal subjects of Russia, which include 21 republics, 47 oblasts, eight krais, two federal cities (Moscow and Saint Petersburg), five autonomous okrugs, and one autonomous oblast, each subject sends two senators equaling 168 seats. The Council holds its sessions within the Main Building on Bolshaya Dmitrovka Street. These sessions can be observed by the public, but the location may also be changed and some sessions are closed.
The Government of the Russian Federation is an executive governmental body that joins the executive branches of Russian government.
The juridical branch of Russia is administered by the Ministry of Justice. There are the courts of general jurisdiction where civil and criminal cases are tried, courts of primary jurisdiction, and municipal court which is the lowest level and deals with city or rural district and presides over the majority of all civil and criminal cases.
Moscow is the heart of Russian politics with its quintessential structure the Kremlin acting as the house of power. The Kremlin is the residence of the President of Russia. Also called the Central Administrative Okrug, the Kremlin also houses military headquarters and the headquarters of the Moscow Military District.
The mayor of Moscow holds considerable power considering the influence of the city. The current mayor, Yury Luzhkov, has held the position since 1992. Luzhkov also serves as vice-chairman and one of founders of the ruling United Russia party.
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