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State Duma of the Russian Federation

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State Duma of the Russian Federation

This article is about the modern Russian assembly. For the historical body, see State Duma of the Russian Empire.
State Duma
Государственная Дума Федерального Собрания Российской Федерации
Federal Assembly of Russia
Type Lower House of the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation
Chairman of the State Duma Sergey Naryshkin, United Russia
Since 21 December 2011
Seats 450
Political groups
  United Russia (238)
  Communist Party (92)
  A Just Russia (64)
  LDPR (56)
Voting system Party-list proportional representation
Last election 4 December 2011
Meeting place
State Duma Building
Manege Square
Moscow, Russian Federation

The State Duma (Russian: Госуда́рственная ду́ма (Gosudarstvennaya Duma), common abbreviation: Госду́ма (Gosduma)) in the Russian Federation is the lower house of the Federal Assembly of Russia (legislature), the upper house being the Federation Council of Russia. The Duma headquarters is located in central Moscow, a few steps from Manege Square. Its members are referred to as deputies. The State Duma replaced the Supreme Soviet as a result of the new constitution introduced by Boris Yeltsin in the aftermath of the Russian constitutional crisis of 1993, and approved by the Russian public in a referendum.


Main articles: Boyar Duma and State Duma of the Russian Empire

The State Duma was introduced in 1906 and was Russia's first elected parliament. The first two attempts by Tsar Nicholas II to make it active were ineffective. Subsequently each of the Dumas were dissolved after only a few months. After the 1907 electoral reform, the third Duma, elected in November 1907, was largely made up of members of the upper classes, as radical influences in the Duma had almost entirely been removed. The establishment of the Duma after the 1905 Revolution was to herald significant changes to the Russian autocratic system. Furthermore the Duma was later to have an important effect on Russian history, as it was one of the contributing factors in the February Revolution, which led to the abolition of autocracy in Russia.

In the December 1993 elections pro-Yeltsin parties won 175 seats in the Duma versus 125 seats for the left bloc. The balance of power lay with the sixty four deputies of the semi-fascist Liberal Democratic Party of Russia. Only parties that won more than five percent of the vote were given party-list seats: eight passed the threshold in 1993. In addition to those eight parties, a pool of thirty five deputies was entitled to form a registered group to reflect regional or sectoral interests. Business was governed by a steering committee, the Duma Council, consisting of one person from each party or group. The most important task was dividing up the chair positions in the Duma’s twenty three committees, which was done as part of a power-sharing "package" deal.

In none of the Dumas elected in 1993, 1995 and 1999 was one party able to form a majority, so the chamber was mired in factional bickering and was unable to impose order on the work of its committees. Too many bills were introduced - less than half made it to the first reading. During most of the Yeltsin era the anti-Yeltsin camp was strong enough to block government legislative initiatives, while the pro-Yeltsin camp was fractured and lacked institutional ties to the executive branch.[1] Less than half the bills passed originated as government proposals. Yeltsin vetoed twenty percent of all bills in 1996–1999, and in half the cases the veto was not overridden. The Russian public developed a strongly unfavorable image of the Duma. Meanwhile, Yeltsin continued to pursue his policies by decree – an example is the privatisation auctions and the Chechnya invasion in 1994. Each year 1995–2001 the Duma refused to approve the federal budget in advance, so the government proceeded through sequestration.

A deterioration in Duma–-president relations occurred due to Yeltsin'’s dismissal of Victor Chernomyrdin from the post of prime minister in March 1998. Although the appointment of Chernomyrdin’'s successor, Sergei Kiriyenko, was also a source of division, the new prime minister’s support for stringent fiscal measures, coupled with a deteriorating economic situation, appeared to galvanize the leftist alliance. During this period, the Communist Party leadership pursued a more confrontational stance towards the executive.

The August 1998 financial crash was a major political blow for Yeltsin, and undermined the fortunes of many of the oligarchs who were an important pillar of support for the president.[2] In the wake of the crisis Yeltsin was forced to dismiss Prime Minister Sergey Kirienko and reluctantly accepted Yevgeny Primakov as his replacement. Primakov, a former spy chief and foreign minister, was a candidate acceptable to the Communist-led Duma.[3] This was perhaps the high point of parliamentary influence during the whole post-Soviet period. In spring 1999 the Federation Council refused to accept Yeltsin’s dismissal of General Prosecutor Yuri Skuratov, who was investigating Boris Berezovsky, a leading oligarch and backer of Yeltsin. In May 1999 Yeltsin struck back by firing Primakov, who went on to lead an anti-Yeltsin coalition of regional bosses, the Fatherland-All Russia movement.

During the second half of the 1990s the Duma became an important forum for lobbying by regional leaders and businessmen looking for tax breaks and legislative favors. The work of the leading committees, such as those for defense, foreign affairs, or budget, attracted a good deal of media attention and lobbying activity.

In the early 2000s, following the 1999 parliamentary elections Pro-presidential Unity party and the Communist Party of the Russian Federation were the leading forces in the State Duma. Frustrated by the lack of cooperation between natural coalition partners in the early organization of the Duma, Putin ordered Unity to negotiate a secret deal with the Communists. The deal provided for the election of Communist leader Gennadiy Seleznyov as speaker and the division of committee chairmanship between the two parties and marginalized Union of Rightist Forces, Fatherland, Yabloko, and Russia’s Regions, which divided only five committee positions among them. As a result of this deal, the Communists retained some influence over the Duma.[4]

But in April 2002 Unity stopped cooperating with the Communists and Unity, which renamed itself the United Russia party, took a majority in the Duma Council. Vacant leadership positions were reallocated to loyal factions (Fatherland, Union of Rightist Forces, Yabloko, and Russian Regions), increasing their access to resources and removing the Communist capacity to mount opposition from within the Duma. In response to the changes, Unity faction leader Pekhtin publicly celebrated the end of the reign of the Communist Party of the Russian Federation.


The State Duma has special powers enumerated by the Constitution of Russia. They are:

  • 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;
  • announcement of amnesty;
  • bringing charges against the President of the Russian Federation for his impeachment (requires a two-thirds majority);

The State Duma adopts decrees on issues relating to its authority by the Constitution of the Russian Federation. 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.

All bills are first approved by the State Duma and are further debated and approved (or rejected) by the Federation Council.


Duma Council

The Duma Council (Russian: Совет Государственной Думы) is responsible for setting the Russian legislative agenda, to determine the Duma’s legislative programme, to schedule the scrutiny of questions on the floor of the assembly, to convene extraordinary parliamentary sessions on the request of deputies or the executive branch, to allocate legislative projects to the Duma’s profile committees, and to determine if and when bills could proceed to the "reading" stage.[5] It includes the chairman of the Duma and the factions leaders. According to regulations of the Duma, in the absence of the faction leader from the council, his deputy may participate in the meeting on his behalf.[6]


The State Duma formed committees and commissions. Committees are the main organs of the House involved in the legislative process. Formed, as a rule, the principle of proportional representation of parliamentary associations. Chairmen of committees and their first deputies and deputies are elected by a majority vote of all deputies of the parliamentary representation of associations.

Main structural units of the State Duma are committees, organized according to their spheres of responsibilities. There were 32 committees in 5th Duma (2007-2011) but newly 6th Duma has only 29 committees. Duma committees function for the duration of the current Duma itself. The authority of the State Duma committees include:

  • The authority of the committee include: proposing to build an exemplary program of legislative work of the State Duma for the current session calendar and address the issues of the State Duma for the next month;
  • implement prior review of bills and preparing them for consideration by the State Duma;
  • Preparation of draft regulations of the State Duma;
  • preparation of opinions on draft laws and draft resolutions brought before the State Duma;
  • training in accordance with the decision of the House requests the Constitutional Court of the Russian Federation;
  • in accordance with the decision of the Council of the State Duma, State Duma Chairman requested preparation of draft regulations of the State Council to send representatives to the State Duma of the Constitutional Court of Russia;
  • organization of the parliamentary hearings;
  • opinions and proposals on appropriate sections of the draft federal budget;
  • analysis of the practice of law.


The State Duma commissions are formed in the cases and manner prescribed by law. Commission formed for a period not exceeding the term of the Duma of the convocation. In the State Duma 5th convocation, there are five committees:

  • Commission mandated Affairs and Parliamentary Ethics
  • Accounts Commission
  • Commission for consideration of the federal budget to ensure the defense and national security of the Russian Federation
  • Commission for legislative support of anti-corruption
  • Commission for legislative support of activity of natural monopolies and state corporations and commercial organizations with state participation


Any Russian citizen, who is age 21 or older is eligible to participate in the election, may be elected deputy to the State Duma.[7] However, that same person may not be a deputy to the Federation Council. In addition, a State Duma deputy cannot hold office in any other representative body of state power or bodies of local self-government. The office as deputy of the State Duma is a full-time and professional position.[8] Thus, deputies to the State Duma may not be employed in the civil service or engage in any activities for remuneration other than teaching, research or other creative activities.

Chairman of the State Duma

      United Russia       Party of Russia's Rebirth       Agrarian Party of Russia

Portrait Name Took office Left office Political Party Term
align=center style="background: ;"| 1 Ivan Rybkin January 14, 1994 January 17, 1996 Agrarian Party of Russia 1
2 Gennadiy Seleznyov January 17, 1996 January 18, 2000 Communist Party of Russian Federation (prior June 4, 2002)

Non-partisan / Independent (June 4, 2002 - October 29, 2002)

Non-partisan / Party of Russia's Rebirth (since October 29, 2002)
January 18, 2000 December 29, 2003 3
3 Boris Gryzlov December 29, 2003 December 24, 2007 United Russia 4
December 24, 2007 December 19, 2011 5
4 Sergey Naryshkin December 20, 2011 Incumbent United Russia 6

Latest election

Current composition

Main article: Russian legislative election, 2011

According to the Russian Constitution, the State Duma consists of 450 deputies (Article 95), each elected to a term of five years (Article 96; beginning 2011, for five years). Russian citizens at least 21 years old are eligible to run for the Duma (Article 97). Seats are awarded on the basis of the percentage of election votes won by a party. The party then appoints candidates to fill its eligible seats.

Faction leader Number of Deputies Popular vote
United Russia Vladimir Putin 238 49.5%
Communist Party of the Russian Federation Gennady Zyuganov 92 19.2%
A Just Russia Sergey Mironov 64 13.2%
Political party LDPR Vladimir Zhirinovsky 56 11.7%

Presidential envoys to the State Duma

  • Alexander Yakovlev (February 18, 1994 – February 10, 1996)
  • Alexander Kotenkov (February 10, 1996 – April 5, 2004)
  • Alexander Kosopkin (since April 5, 2004)


External links

  • (Russian) Official site

Coordinates: 55°45′27″N 37°36′55″E / 55.75750°N 37.61528°E / 55.75750; 37.61528

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