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Monday, 17 July, 2006
20:21 GMT 00:21 Moscow
Local Time: 00:21

 A Brief Overview

The capital of Russia is Moscow.
The country occupies an area of 17,075,400 km2.
The population of Russia is 143.3 million (as of April 1, 2005).
The country’s administrative divisions are 21 republics, 6 territories, 49 regions, 2 cities of federal importance, one autonomous region, 10 autonomous areas, and 7 federal districts.
There are 160 nationalities and ethnic groups living in Russia.
The country’s monetary unit is the ruble.
The Russian flag is a rectangular cloth with three equal horizontal bands: white at the top, then blue, then red (a white-blue-red tricolor). Its height to width ratio is 2:3.
The state emblem is a double-headed eagle on a red heraldic shield. The eagle is crowned with three historic crowns of Peter the Great (two small crowns, and above them, a large crown). The eagle is holding a scepter and an orb in its claws, and on a red shield on the eagle’s breast is a horseman striking a dragon with his spear.
The standard is a square cloth with three equal horizontal bands: white at the top, then blue, then red (the colors of the Russian flag). At the center is the state emblem in gold. The cloth is edged with a golden fringe. The flagpole has a silver bracer bearing the full name of the Russian president and the dates of his term in office. On the top of the flagpole there is a pointed metal cap.
The Russian national anthem: music by A. Alexandrov, words by S. Mikhalkov.
State language: Russian.
State holiday: June 12, Russia Day.
The basic law is the Constitution of the Russian Federation adopted in 1993.

Since 1991, the head of the Russian Federation has been the president who is elected on the basis of universal direct suffrage by secret ballot.
The current Russian President is Vladimir Putin. He was elected acting president on December 31, 1999, president on March 26, 2000, and was re-elected president on March 14, 2004.
Vladimir Putin was officially inaugurated as Russian President on May 7, 2004.
Under the Russian constitution the president has the right to form a presidential administration. This body provides the president with administrative support. The first administration was established by a presidential decree dated July 19, 1991. The new presidential administration was formed by a presidential decree dated March 25, 2004. The head of the presidential administration is Dmitry Medvedev. The president heads the Security Council, which was established in 1992. The Security Council Secretary is Igor Ivanov.
The president appoints presidential envoys to state and international bodies, the Russian federal districts, and state companies.

Since January 1994, the country’s legislative authority is vested in a bicameral parliament: the Federal Assembly made up of the Federation Council and the State Duma. The Federation Council was formed in November 2000-December 2001 from ex officio representatives. The term of the chamber as a whole is unlimited, but the term of each member depends on his or her individual term in local government. The Federation Council Chairman is Sergei Mironov.
The Fourth State Duma was elected on December 7, 2003, for a four-year term. A total of 450 deputies were elected to the Duma (with 225 deputies elected from single-mandate constituencies and 225 elected from party lists). The State Duma Chairman (Speaker) is Boris Gryzlov (leader of the United Russia party).
As of April 19, 2005, there were 447 State Duma deputies. The pro-government United Russia party has a qualified majority with 305 seats, the Liberal Democratic Party of Russia (LDPR), which supports the government on most issues, has 35 seats, the Communist Party of the Russian Federation (KPRF) has 47 seats, the Rodina (Fatherland) faction has 40 seats, and independent deputies have 20 seats.

The country’s executive authority is vested in the Russian government, which the president has the authority to dissolve. The government consists of a chairman, his deputies and federal ministers.
The present government was formed by a presidential decree dated March 9, 2004. Mikhail Fradkov was appointed as Chairman of the Russian Government (Prime Minister).

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