The Russian Federation is set up by the Constitution of 1993. Under the Constitution Russia is a presidential republic. The federal government consists of three branches: legislative, executive and judicial. Each of them is checked and balanced by the President.
The President of the Russian Federation is a head of a state and a commander-in-chief of the armed forces. He has extensive powers. He observes and defends the Constitution and holds generally a central position in the system of Government. He is elected by popular vote for a six-year term.
The President may preside at meetings of the Government. He establishes and chairs the Security Council, confirms the Russian military doctrine, appoints a number of the leading officials. Acting with the consent of the State Duma, the President appoints the Prime Minister. If the State Duma rejects the President’s candidates three times, the President will proceed with appointment, dissolve the State Duma and announce a new election.
The declaration of war or of a state of emergency is within the President’s prerogative too, but he must inform the Parliament of such decisions and must seek the approval of the Federation Council.
The legislative power is vested in the Federal Assembly. It is a permanently functioning body. It consists of two separately functioning chambers: the Federation Council (the upper Chamber) and the State Duma (the lower chamber).
The Federation Council (the upper Chamber) includes two representatives from each constituent entity of the Russian Federation and the State Duma (the lower chamber) consists of 450 deputies. Each chamber is headed by the Speaker. Legislature is initiated in the Lower Chamber. But in order to become a law a bill must be approved by both Chambers and must be signed by the President. The President may also veto the bill. The State Duma may override the veto.
The executive power belongs to the Government which is headed by the Prime Minister. The government presents a draft budget to be discussed by the State Duma and it provides its implementation and realization of financial, credit and monetary policies. The government also ensures state security, realization of foreign policy, implementation of a uniform state policy in the sphere of culture, science, education, social security, health, and ecology.
The judicial branch is represented by the Constitutional Court, the Supreme Court and the regional (lower) courts. The Supreme Court is the highest instance for civil and criminal cases. The responsibility of the Constitutional Court is to analyze the new laws to make sure they correspond to the laws of the state.
Today the state symbol of Russia is a three-coloured banner. It has three horizontal stripes: white, blue and red. The white stripe symbolizes the earth, the blue one stands for the sky, and the red one symbolizes liberty. The hymn of Russia has been created by Alexandrov and Mikhalkov. Now the national coat of arms is a two-headed eagle. It is the most ancient symbol of Russia. It originates from the heraldic emblem of the Ruricivich signifying the succession of the Russian state from the Byzantine Empire.
3. Find in the text above the Russian equivalents for the following words and expressions:
- two separately functioning chambers
- the most ancient symbol
- to announce a new election
- a state of emergency
- the national coat of arms
- a number of the leading officials
- popular vote
- military doctrine
- to override the veto
- a three-coloured banner
- to have extensive powers.
4. Match the synonyms:
A bill to veto
To enforce a proposed law
To prohibit to exert
A chamber to be composed of
To consist a house
5. Complete the following sentences. Consult the text:
1. Russia is ____________________________________________________.
2. The federal government consists of _______________________________.
3. Now the national coat of arms is __________________________________.
4. The stripes of the three coloured banner symbolize ___________________.
5. The executive power belongs to __________________________________.
6. Legislature is initiated __________________________________________.
7. The members of the State Duma are elected ________________________.
6. Translate the sentences, use the information from the text:
1. Государственная власть в Российской Федерации разделяется на три ветви: законодательную, исполнительную и судебную.
2. Президент РФ может наложить вето на законопроект, предложенный Федеральным собранием.
3. По Конституции право законодательной инициативы принадлежит обеим палатам российского парламента.
4. Исполнительная власть в РФ принадлежит Премьер-министру, который назначается Президентом.
5. Конституция РФ регулирует отношения между государством и его гражданами.
7. Fill in the blanks.
Under the Constitution Russia is a presidential republic. The federal government consists of three (1) ___: legislative, executive and judicial. Each of them is balanced by the President. The legislative power is (2) ___ in the Federal Assembly. It consists of two chambers. The (3) _____ chamber is the Council of Federation. The lower chamber is the State Duma. Each chamber is (4) ___ by the Speaker. Legislature is initiated in the Lower Chamber. But in order to become a law a bill must be (5) ____ by both Chambers and must be signed by the President.
The executive power belongs to the Government which is headed by the Prime Minister. The first action of the Prime Minister on appointment is (6) __ the Cabinet.
The judicial branch is represented by the Constitutional Court, (7) ___ Court and the regional courts.
8. What else do you know about your country? Answer the following questions:
1. How often are general elections held in Russian Federation?
2. When was the last general election held?
3. Can you name the last three Prime Ministers?
4. Can you name the Minister of Internal Affairs?
5. Can you give an example of the recent change of government?
6. How many political parties are there in Russian Federation?
9. Read, translate and reproduce the dialogue:
Two British students speak about governmental structure of Russian Federation
A. Do you know is Russia a constitutional monarchy or a presidential republic?
B. As far as I know, Russia is a presidential republic.
A. What is the state power of Russia carried out by?
B. It is carried out by diving power into three branches: legislative, executive and judicial.
A. What can you say about the legislative branch?
B. It is vested in the Federal Assembly consisting of two separately functioning chambers: the Federation Council (the upper Chamber) and the State Duma (the lower chamber).
A. And whom does the executive power belong to?
B. It belongs to the Government which is headed by the Prime Minister.
A. And what do you know about the judicial branch?
B. It is represented by the Constitutional Court, the Supreme Court and the regional (lower) courts.
A. It’s very interesting. Thank you.
B. You’re welcome.
Retell the text.