Federation Council of the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation

Status and authority

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.


The Federation Council is the upper chamber of the Federal Assembly, the Russian parliament.

It is composed of two representative 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.

Until 8 August 2000, the composition of the Federation Council was regulated by Federal Law No. 192-FZ dated 5 December 1995, On the Procedure of Establishing the Federation Council of the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation (Corpus of Legislative Acts of the Russian Federation, 1995, No. 50, Art. 4869): the chamber was composed of 178 representatives of Russia’s constituent entities, who were the heads of legislative (representative) and executive authorities of the regions (ex officio). All members of the Federation Council combined their federal parliamentary mandate with responsibilities in their respective constituent entities of the Russian Federation.

Federal Law No. 113-FZ dated 5 August 2000, On the Procedure of Establishing the Federation Council of the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation (Corpus of Legislative Acts of the Russian Federation, 2000, No. 32, Art. 3336), came into force on 8 August 2000. Under the law, the chamber was composed of the representatives elected by legislative (representative) authorities of Russia’s constituent entities or appointed by chief government officials of the constituent entities of the Russian Federation (heads of supreme executive authorities in the constituent entities of the Russian Federation). The term served by a representative was determined by the term of the authority that elected or appointed him or her. However, at the application by the Speaker of the Federation Council the authority that elected (appointed) the Federation Council member could terminate his or her term in office before its expiry following the same procedure as when electing (appointing) the member. Qualifications for being elected (appointed) to the Federation Council included being at least 30 years old and eligible to vote and to be elected to government bodies as per the Constitution of the Russian Federation.

From 1 January 2011, as per the amended rules of establishing the Federation Council under Federal Law No. 21-FZ dated 14 February 2009, the candidate up for election (appointment) as a Federation Council member could be a citizen of the Russian Federation serving as the member of a regional legislative (representative) authority or as a member of a municipal representative body within the constituent entity of the Russian Federation whose authority elects (appoints) the Federation Council member. Upon the election (appointment) to the Federation Council, the member was to resign from the regional legislative (representative) authority or a municipal representative body of the relevant constituent entity within the time limit prescribed by Federal Law.

The term of a Federation Council member (Federal Law No. 3 FZ dated 8 May 1994, On the Status of Members of the Federation Council and State Duma of the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation) started on the day the decision on his or her election (appointment) by the relevant authority of the constituent entity of the Russian Federation came into force. The elected (appointed) member of the Federation Council could exercise his or her authority starting on the tenth day after the enactment of the election (appointment) decision by the relevant authority of the constituent entity of the Russian Federation.

The speaker of a legislative (representative) authority in a constituent entity of the Russian Federation proposed candidates for election as member of the Federation Council, and in a bicameral legislative (representative) authority the speakers of the two chambers did so on a rotating basis. In addition, a group of members of the regional parliament representing at least one third of the total legislature was entitled to put forward alternative candidates. The decision to elect a representative of a legislative (representative) authority was adopted by secret ballot and executed as a resolution of the authority, and in a bicameral legislative (representative) authority by a joint resolution of the two chambers.

The decision by the chief government official of a constituent entity of the Russian Federation (head of the supreme executive authority in a constituent entity of the Russian Federation) to appoint a representative of the constituent entity’s executive authority to the Federation Council was executed as an executive order (resolution) of the chief government official of a constituent entity of the Russian Federation (head of the supreme executive authority in a constituent entity of the Russian Federation).

Federal Law No. 229-FZ dated 3 December 2012, On the Procedure of Establishing the Federation Council of the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation, came into force on 1 January 2013. Under the law, the newly elected legislative (representative) authorities and top government officials (heads of supreme executive authorities in constituent entities of the Russian Federation) of Russia’s constituent entities conferred powers to Federation Council members for the duration of their respective terms.

To qualify as a candidate for the Federation Council, a person must be a citizen of Russia, at least 30 years old, with an impeccable reputation and permanent residence in the relevant constituent entity of the Russian Federation for the five years preceding nomination as candidate for Federation Council. In cases envisaged by law, the requirement that the candidate must be a permanent resident of the constituent entity of the Russian Federation may be waived.

Only members of legislative (representative) authorities of constituent entities of the Russian Federation who meet the above requirements can be candidates for Federation Council.

When electing a representative of a legislative (representative) authority of a constituent entity of the Russian Federation to the Federation Council, candidates are put forward by the speaker of the relevant assembly, its parliamentary groups or at least one fifth of the total number of members in the legislative (representative) authority. The speaker, parliamentary groups and members accounting for one fifth of the legislature are entitled to place before the legislative (representative) authority not more than one candidate for Federation Council.

The decision to vest authority in a Federation Council member representing legislative (representative) authorities of Russia’s constituent entity is adopted by a majority of the total number of members in the relevant assembly and executed as a resolution of a legislative (representative) authority of a constituent entity of the Russian Federation. It must be adopted within one month from the first qualified sitting of the new legislature of the legislative (representative) authority of a constituent entity of the Russian Federation, including in cases when the mandate of the preceding legislature was terminated early.

When electing the chief government official of a constituent entity of the Russian Federation (head of the supreme executive authority of the 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. If under the constitution (statute) or law of a constituent entity of the Russian Federation its chief government official (head of the supreme executive authority of the constituent entity of the Russian Federation) is elected by the members of the region’s legislative (representative) authority, the candidate for the office of chief government official (head of the supreme executive authority of the constituent entity of the Russian Federation) submits to the legislative (representative) authority of the constituent entity in question a list of three people one of whom, if the candidate is elected, becomes a Federation Council member as representative of the constituent entity’s executive authority. Several candidates for the office of chief government official (head of the supreme executive authority of the constituent entity of the Russian Federation) cannot nominate the same person for the position of Federation Council member representing the constituent entity’s executive authority.

The decision to vest authority in a Federation Council member representing the constituent entity’s executive authority is taken by a newly elected chief government official of a constituent entity of the Russian Federation (head of the supreme executive authority of the constituent entity of the Russian Federation) no later than on the next day after taking office. This decision is executed as an executive order (resolution).

No later than on the day following the enactment of the decision to vest authority in a Federation Council member, the authority of a constituent entity sends the decision to the Federation Council and publishes it on its official website. The mandate of a Federation Council member is terminated on the day when the decision by the relevant authority of a constituent entity of the Russian Federation to vest authority in a new Federation Council member representing the same authority of the constituent entity comes into force.

Under the amendment to the Constitution of the Russian Federation as per the Law of the Russian Federation On Amendment of the Constitution of the Russian Federation regarding the Federation Council of the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation, the representatives of the Russian Federation are appointed to and removed from the Federation Council by the President of the Russian Federation.

The Federation Council is a permanent body. It meets as necessary, but no less than twice a month. The sittings of the Federation Council are the chamber’s main working format. They are held separately from the sittings of the State Duma. The two chambers may convene together to hear addresses by the President of the Russian Federation, of the Constitutional Court of the Russian Federation and statements by foreign heads of state. Members of the Federation Council exercise their authority on a permanent basis.

The Federation Council holds its sittings in Moscow, usually from 25 January to 15 July and from 16 September until 31 December. The sittings are open to the public. The Federation Council may decide to change the sitting venue or hold a closed sitting.

The Federation Council elects among its members the Speaker of the Federation Council, his or her First Deputy Speaker and Deputy Speakers, who preside over the sittings and are in charge of the chamber’s internal operations. In addition, Speaker of the Federation Council Yegor Stroyev, who is no longer a member of the chamber, was elected as Honorary Speaker of the Federation Council, a lifelong honour. Also, Yegor Stroyev and Vladimir Shumeiko, who served as Speaker of the Federation Council during its first convocation, have designated seats in the Federation Council Chamber meeting hall and offices on Federation Council grounds. They also have special credentials and pins, can act during sittings in an advisory capacity and enjoy a number of other privileges.

The Federation Council forms committees that are composed of its members. Federation Council committees are the chamber’s permanent bodies.

The Federation Council may establish temporary commissions, composed of its members. An ad hoc commission is established by the Federation Council for a determined period of time in order to fulfil a specific task. The decision to establish an ad hoc commission is subject to coordination with the Federation Council committee in charge of the relevant matter.

Each member of the Federation Council must be assigned to one of the Federation Council committees. A member of the Federation Council can belong to only one committee. The Speaker of the Federation Council cannot be a member of any Federation Council committees. The First Deputy Speaker and deputy speakers of the Federation Council can be members of a Federation Council committee. A Federation Council committee is composed of at least 11, but not more than 21 Federation Council members. The decision to approve the composition of a Federation Council committee is executed as a Federation Council resolution. Federation Council committees may establish subcommittees in charge of their key areas of activity. A member of a Federation Council committee may be part of any subcommittees within the relevant committee.

The Federation Council has the following committees:

  • Federation Council Committee on Constitutional Legislation and State Building
  • Federation Council Committee on Federal Structure, Regional Policy, Local Government and Northern Affairs
  • Federation Council Committee on Defence and Security
  • Federation Council Committee on Foreign Affairs
  • Federation Council Committee on the Budget and Financial Markets
  • Federation Council Committee on Economic Policy
  • Federation Council Committee on Agriculture and Food Policy and Environmental Management
  • Federation Council Committee on Social Policy
  • Federation Council Committee on Science, Education and Culture
  • Federation Council Committee on House Rules and Parliamentary Governance.

Decisions related to reorganising or dissolving specific committees or establishing new ones are adopted in the manner set forth in the Federation Council’s Rules of Procedure.

Federation Council committees are guided in their work by the principles of transparency and free speech. Sittings of Federation Council committees are usually open to the public. A Federation Council committee may decide on holding a closed sitting at the proposal of its member, and as stipulated in federal constitutional laws and federal laws.

The Constitution of the Russian Federation defines the powers of the Federation Council. Exercising legislative power is its main function. The Constitution of the Russian Federation and the Federation Council Rules of Procedure stipulate the manner in which the Federation Council reviews federal constitutional laws and federal laws, approved or adopted by the State Duma, respectively.

The Federation Council carries out legislative work in two main areas:

Together with the State Duma, the Federation Council takes part in drafting laws, reviewing them and taking decisions.

The Federation Council drafts federal laws and federal constitutional laws under its right to initiate legislation.

Federal laws adopted by the State Duma are subject to mandatory review by the Federation Council in the following areas: the federal budget; federal taxes and duties; financial, foreign exchange, lending and customs regulations, and money creation; ratification of and withdrawal from international treaties of the Russian Federation; status and protection of the state border of the Russian Federation; war and peace.

A federal law is deemed approved by the Federation Council, if it is voted for by more than one half of the total number of members, while constitutional laws are adopted by a three fourths majority. In addition, a federal law that is not subject to mandatory review is deemed to have been adopted if the Federation Council does not take it up for review within fourteen days. If the Federation Council rejects a federal draft law, the two chambers may set up a conciliation commission to overcome the differences, after which the draft federal law has to be reviewed once again by the State Duma and the Federation Council.

Furthermore, the Federation Council has the following authority:

  • to approve the modification of boundaries between constituent entities of the Russian Federation;
  • to approve presidential executive orders imposing martial law or a state of emergency;
  • to take decisions on deploying the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation outside its territory;
  • to call elections of the President of the Russian Federation;
  • to remove the President of the Russian Federation from office;
  • to appoint judges to the Constitutional Court of the Russian Federation and the Supreme Court of the Russian Federation;
  • to appoint and dismiss the Prosecutor-General of the Russian Federation and deputy prosecutors-general of the Russian Federation;
  • to appoint and dismiss the Deputy Chair of the Accounts Chamber and half of its auditors.

Outside of its constitutional powers, the Federation Council has a number of other powers stipulated by federal laws.

The Federation Council and each member of the Federation Council have the right to initiate legislation.

The Federation Council adopts resolutions by majority of the total number of Federation Council members on matters relating to its operation, unless otherwise stipulated by the Constitution of the Russian Federation.

The Federation Council adopts the Rules of Procedure with a detailed description of its bodies and operations, the chamber’s contribution to the legislative process, the procedures for reviewing matters within the Federation Council’s purview.

 

The status of a Federation Council member is defined in the Constitution of the Russian Federation, whereby the members of the Federation Council benefit from immunity throughout their term. They may not be detained, arrested or subject to search unless detained at the scene of a crime, or undergo a personal search, except for cases stipulated by federal law and related to ensuring the security of other people.