Federation Council of the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation

The Federation Council is the upper chamber of the Federal Assembly, the Russian parliament. It is composed of two representatives from every constituent entity of the Russian Federation with one representing the legislative (representative) authority and the other the executive authority, as well as the representatives of the Russian Federation appointed by the President of the Russian Federation whose number shall not exceed ten percent of Federation Council members representing legislative (representative) and executive authorities of Russia’s constituent entities.

On the Status of a Member of the Federation Council and a Deputy of the State Duma of the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation


It is composed of two representatives from every constituent entity of the Russian Federation with one representing the legislative (representative) authority and the other the executive authority; the former President of the Russian Federation whose term in office has expired or who resigns before that; and no more than 30 representatives of the Russian Federation appointed by the President of the Russian Federation.

Rules of Procedure of the Federation Council

(as amended on 13 April 2022)

The Federation Council decides independently on matters within its purview as per the Constitution of the Russian Federation, federal constitutional laws and federal laws. The Federation Council adopts its Rules of Procedure and decides on its internal regulations.



It is impossible to understand the role and place of popular representation in modern Russia’s political system without a comprehensive evaluation of the deep history of national legislative institutions: from the Veche, the Boyar Duma, the pre-revolution State Dumas and State Council, to Soviet-era sovereignty of the people and modern forms of parliamentary democracy.

The Veche, an assembly of all free individuals, was the first form of direct popular participation in state affairs. Chronicles mention Veche assemblies in every ancient Russian princedom. Veche participants could discuss any issue affecting the state, but most frequently took decisions on inviting princes to rule and later expelling them, on military campaigns and the signing of peace treaties.

The Federation Council of the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation was established under the Constitution of the Russian Federation, ratified 12 December 1993 in a nationwide referendum. The Federation Council is the upper house of parliament representing the interests of regions at the federal level and reflecting the federative nature of the Russian state.

The Federal Assembly’s bicameral structure is deeply rooted in Russian history and worldwide parliamentary traditions. Today, almost 80 federative and unitary countries have bicameral parliaments.

Over the ages, the upper chambers of many national parliaments had evolved from assemblies of councilors, subordinated to national rulers, and had class or estate based representation. Russian princedoms had their own Dumas, subordinated to local princes and consisting of the princes’ close supporters and comrades-in-arms. These Dumas played the part of permanent councils. After the establishment of the Tsardom of Muscovy, the Boyar Duma succeeded the Grand Prince’s Duma. It existed until the late 17th century and was later reorganised as the Senate. Under Emperor Peter the Great, the Senate was expected to serve as the institution of supreme state authority in his absence. 

Meetings of Boyars, priests, representatives of the government service class (primarily from among the nobility) and the merchant class became the first representative institutions. Russian tsars convened these meetings from the mid-16th century until the 1670s and were later referred to as the Councils of the Estates. The Councils elected tsars, declared war, signed peace treaties, accepted new territories into the Russian state and reviewed taxation issues. The functions of the Councils of the Estates, their prerogatives and terms of reference virtually coincided with the list of problems and issues reviewed by parliaments of the estates in Western and Central European countries. However, as absolutism grew stronger in Russia, the Councils of the Estates lost relevance by the late 17th century. 

The first attempt to establish a bicameral parliament, similar to West European parliaments, was made in the early 19th century. Acting on orders from Russian Emperor Alexander I, prominent statesman Mikhail Speransky drafted the concept of a bicameral legislature that was to have consisted of the State Duma and the State Council headed by the Emperor. Established in 1810, the State Council became the supreme legislature of the Russian Empire. Its members debated all bills and other legislative acts pending approval by the Emperor. But the State Duma was never established. 

The idea of a bicameral national legislature was almost realised in the last years of life of the reformer Tsar Alexander II. The assassination of Alexander II and the subsequent counter-reforms of Alexander III delayed the country’s movement toward this goal.

In the early 1900s, all strata of Russian society started demanding the creation of a national representative and legislative institution. In the autumn of 1905 and the winter of 1906, Emperor Nicholas II met society halfway and issued edicts and decrees establishing the State Duma and the upgraded State Council, which had existed for almost 100 years by that time. In his 20 February 1906 edict, Nicholas II stated expressly that, after the convocation of the State Council and the State Duma, no law could enter into force without their prior approval.

Representation in the State Council, the upper house of the first Russian parliament, was determined by a mixed formula. The Tsar appointed 50 percent of its members, and the rest were either elected under the territorial principle (one State Council member from each Gubernia/Regional Council of Estates) or under the estate-corporate principle (six priests from the Russian Orthodox Church, 18 members from Gubernia/Regional nobility societies, six members from the Russian Academy of Sciences and from universities, six members from industrial corporations and six more members from commercial corporations).

The first Russian parliament lasted for just over ten years. A new system of representative institutions called Soviets (Councils) evolved during the February and October revolutions of 1917.

Starting in 1924, the Congress of the Soviets de jure exercised legislative and representative functions in the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. The Congress established two houses, the Soviet (Council) of the Union and the Soviet (Council) of Nationalities, for the purposes of its regular work. The former’s members represented Union republics in direct proportion to their populations. The latter consisted of five members from each autonomous region and one member from each republic.

The Constitution of 1936 retained the bicameral parliament and replaced two-stage elections of house members with direct elections. It also stipulated a mechanism of conciliation proceedings in the event of disagreements between the houses and even the possibility of dissolving both houses if they failed to reach consensus. The Supreme Soviet (Parliament) of the USSR also consisted of two houses having equal rights: the Soviet (Council) of the Union and the Soviet (Council) of Nationalities. This system existed until the breakup of the USSR.

The 1993 Constitution of the Russian Federation formalised the Federal Assembly’s status, the country’s bicameral parliament and set forth the Federation Council’s powers and terms of reference. Under the Constitution’s Article 95, the Federation Council comprises two representatives from every Russian region: one from the representative authority and one from the executive authority.

Deputies of the upper house of parliament of the first convocation were elected under a proportional majority system in double-member electoral districts, established within the administrative borders of Russian regions (one electoral district in every Russian region). Prospective Federation Council members were nominated by groups of voters and election blocs. Under interim provisions of the Constitution of the Russian Federation, deputies of the Federation Council of the first convocation exercised their powers on a part-time basis. On 13 January 1994, Vladimir Shumeiko was elected the first Speaker of the Federation Council.

In late 1995, the Federal Law On the Procedure of Establishing the Federation Council of the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation was passed. According to its provisions, the Federation Council comprised two representatives from every constituent entity of the Russian Federation: the head of the regional legislature and the head of the executive authority, ex-officio. On 23 February 1996, Yegor Stroyev, Head of the Oryol Region Administration, was elected Speaker of the Federation Council.

On 8 August 2000, the new Federal Law On the Procedure of Establishing the Federation Council of the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation, entered into force. According to its provisions, a representative of a Russian region’s executive authority in the Federation Council was appointed by the chief government official in that constituent entity (head of the supreme executive authority of a constituent entity). A Federation Council member representing a legislative (representative) authority of a constituent entity was elected by that same body for the entire duration of its term. If a regional legislature was formed on a rotating basis, a Federation Council member was appointed for the duration of one term of its elected deputies. Federation Council members exercised their powers on a full-time basis.

On 5 December 2001, Sergei Mironov, the representative of the St Petersburg Legislative Assembly in the Federation Council, was elected Speaker of the Federation Council.

On 4 February 2009, the Federation Council approved the Federal Law On Amending Certain Legislative Acts of the Russian Federation in Connection with Changes in the Procedure of Establishing the Federation Council of the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation. Under the new law, a citizen of the Russian Federation who is a deputy of a legislative (representative) authority of the constituent entity of the Russian Federation, or a deputy of a municipal entity’s representative body located in a Russian region can be elected or appointed to the Federation Council. The Law stipulated a transition period during which incumbent Federation Council members were able to complete their term. The new procedure for establishing the Federation Council entered into force as of 1 January 2011.

On 10 September 2011, Valentina Matvienko, representative of the executive authority of the city of St Petersburg, was elected Speaker of the Federation Council.

The Federation Council was restructured in November 2011, with ten new committees replacing its 16 committees and 11 permanent commissions.

In 2012, members of a Federation Council working group drafted the Federal Law On the Procedure of Establishing the Federation Council of the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation, which sought to encourage more active involvement of Russian citizens in establishing the “house of the regions.” Society supported this initiative, and the President of the Russian Federation submitted the draft law to the State Duma in June.

On 20 November 2012, the State Duma passed the new Federal Law On the Procedure of Establishing the Federation Council of the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation. The Federation Council passed the document on 28 November, with the President of Russia signing it on 3 December. The new procedure for the formation of the Federation Council came into force on 1 January 2013.

Under the law, only a deputy of a legislative authority of a constituent entity can represent it in the Federation Council. The regional parliament, by a majority of votes, appoints the representative in the month after the first sitting of a new convocation of the regional parliament.

When electing the chief government official of a constituent entity of the Russian Federation each candidate to this office submits to the relevant election commission a list of three candidates who meet the requirements and limitations as per the Federal Law, and one of these three persons is appointed to the Federation Council as a representative of the executive authority of the relevant constituent entity of the Russian Federation, if the candidate to the office of chief government official in the region is elected.

The Law states expressly that a Russian citizen upon reaching 30 years or older and living in the region in question for the past five years can become a member of the Federation Council. The so-called residency requirement does not apply to Federal Assembly members, persons occupying state positions or civil-service positions of the relevant Russian region for a period of five years or those who had occupied state positions or civil-service positions of the relevant Russian region for the same time period pending their nomination as prospective Federation Council members.

The Law requires candidates to have an unimpeachable reputation. A Russian citizen convicted for grave or particularly grave crimes, or for extremist crimes, as stipulated by the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation, or whose conviction remains in effect, cannot become a prospective Federation Council member.

The Law of the Russian Federation amending the Constitution, On the Federation Council of the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation, which came into force in 2014, stipulates that the President of the Russian Federation may appoint up to 10 percent of the total number of the Federation Council members – representatives from legislative and executive authorities of the Russian federal constituent entities.

The composition and powers of the Federation Council were expanded and requirements for Federation Council members (senators) were changed following the enforcement of amendments to the Constitution of the Russian Federation set out in Article 1 of the Law of the Russian Federation No. 1-FKZ on amendment to the Constitution, dated 14 March 2020, On Improving the Regulation of Certain Issues of the Organisation and Functioning of Public Authorities.

Under Article 95 of the Constitution, the Federation Council includes two representatives from each constituent entity of the Russian Federation: one from the legislative and one from the executive body of state authority – for the term of office of the relevant body; the President of the Russian Federation who has ceased to exercise his/her powers upon expiration of his/her term of office or before the end of his/her term due to his/her resignation – for life; no more than 30 representatives of the Russian Federation appointed by the President of the Russian Federation, no more than seven of whom – citizens who have done prominent services to the country in the spheres of state or public activities – may be appointed for life.

The Federal Law No 439-FZ On the Procedure of Establishing the Federation Council of the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation, which was adopted and came into force on 22 December 2020, set out requirements for citizens who wish to become senators. In particular, a senator of the Russian Federation must be at least 30 years old, with an impeccable reputation, must permanently reside in the Russian Federation and must not hold a foreign citizenship (nationality) or a residence permit or other document confirming the right to permanent residence of a citizen of the Russian Federation in another country. There are also restrictions preventing aspiring candidates from obtaining a seat in the Federation Council.

There is an additional requirement for those aspiring to become senators of the Russian Federation representing a constituent entity of the Russian Federation: the candidate must be a citizen of the Russian Federation with permanent residence in the relevant constituent entity of the Russian Federation for the five years preceding his/her nomination as candidate for the post of Russian Federation senator representing this constituent entity of the Russian Federation, or for a total of 20 years preceding the nomination. There is also a list of exemptions from this requirement.

Only members of legislative (representative) authorities of constituent entities of the Russian Federation can become Federation Council members representing the relevant legislative (representative) authorities.

The decision to grant the powers of a senator of the Russian Federation acting as a representative from a constituent entity of the Russian Federation for the term of office of the relevant body shall be taken by the newly elected legislative (representative) body of the constituent entity of the Russian Federation and the newly elected head of the constituent entity of the Russian Federation (head of the supreme legislative authority of the constituent entity of the Russian Federation).

The President of the Russian Federation who has ceased to exercise his/her powers and decides to serve as a senator of the Russian Federation shall submit a written application to this effect to the Federation Council. An application of this kind can be submitted only once.

The senators of the Russian Federation acting as representatives of the Russian Federation, with the exception of those who have been appointed for life, shall be appointed by Presidential executive order for a term of six years.

The composition of the Federation Council has been expanded to balance federal and regional interests more effectively when adopting decisions aimed at attaining national strategic development goals.

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