Russia flag Russia: Economic and Political Overview

The political framework of Russia

Political Outline

Current Political Leaders
President: Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin (since 7 May 2012 ; re-elected on March 18th 2018) - United Russia
Prime Minister: Mikhail Mishustin (since 16 January 2020) - United Russia
Next Election Dates
Presidential: March 2024
State Duma: September 2026
Current Political Context
On February 24th 2022, Russia initiated a military conflict on the Ukrainian territory, which profoundly upsets the current political context in both countries and will have substantial political and economic ramifications. For the ongoing updates on the developments of Russia-Ukraine conflict please consult the dedicated pages on BBC News.

Vladimir Putin, who has been in power for 18 years, started a new six-year presidential term in May 2018. Continuing from his previous term, he emphasises conservative values, anti-Westernism and the nationalism of the great powers. In 2020, amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Putin called for a referendum that validated constitutional changes that allow him to seek re-election in 2024 and potentially remain in power until 2036.
After an increasingly hostile rhetoric and prolonged military build-up in 2021, Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24th 2022. Western countries adopted an unprecedented range of sanctions aimed at pushing the Russian economy into a deep recession and isolating the country from the rest of the world. As Russian forces were losing momentum on the battlefield, Putin ordered a partial mobilisation, and stepped up attacks against Ukraine's critical infrastructure, and in January 2023, a new military commander, Valery Gerasimov, was appointed (The Economist). Sanctions pushed Russia to increase economic collaboration with its partners including Belarus, Iran, Turkey and China. During 2023, hundreds of thousands of citizens, predominantly young males, fled the country following the announcement of partial mobilization. This led to a mass exodus of Russians across the border into neighbouring countries such as Georgia, Finland, Kazakhstan, and Mongolia, seeking to evade conscription.
On June 23, 2023, the Wagner Group, a paramilitary organization funded by the Russian government, initiated a rebellion following escalating tensions between the Russian Ministry of Defence and the then-leader of Wagner, Yevgeny Prigozhin. A resolution to this conflict was reached between the two parties the following day. Following the fatal plane crash that claimed the life of Yevgeny Prigozhin, President Vladimir Putin – who said that Western suggestions that Prigozhin had been killed on its orders were an "absolute lie" - instructed Wagner fighters to pledge allegiance to the Russian state.
The new presidential election will be held on 15–17 March 2024. In November 2023, Boris Nadezhdin, a former member of the State Duma, became the first candidate backed by a registered political party to announce his candidacy, running on an anti-war platform. Subsequently, Leonid Slutsky of the LDPR, Nikolay Kharitonov of the Communist Party, Vladislav Davankov of New People, Sergey Malinkovich of Communists of Russia, and others declared their candidacies later in the same month. However, on February 8, 2024, during the CEC's session, the only anti-war candidate, Boris Nadezhdin, was disqualified from running against Putin in the election due to alleged irregularities in the signatures of voters supporting his candidacy. Malinkovich faced a similar disqualification for the same reason, resulting in only four candidates remaining on the ballot.
Main Political Parties
In Russia, the powers of the executive were greatly increased by the adoption of a new constitution in 1993. The political apparatus is overwhelmingly in the hands of the United Russia party. While opposition parties are authorised, there is little chance for these parties to wield any real power. The main parties are:

- United Russia: centrist, remains the largest and seemingly most popular party in Russia, self-declared focus on 'Russian conservatism'
- Communist Party of the Russian Federation (CPRF): left-wing, seeks to establish modern socialism
- A Just Russia (CP): centre-left, ally of United Russia
- Liberal Democratic Party of Russia (LDPR): far-right, opposes communism and capitalism, self-described as centrist, an extreme right nationalist political party
- New People: liberal, centrist.

Executive Power
The President is the Head of State. He is elected by universal suffrage for six years. He is the commander-in-chief of the army and the real centre of power in the country. The Prime Minister is the Head of Government. He is appointed by the President, with the approval of the lower house of Parliament, and manages the everyday business of the country.
Legislative Power
Russia has a two-chamber legislative power. The Parliament, called the Federal Assembly, is composed of: the Council of the Federation (upper chamber), which has 170 seats and the members are appointed by the regional governors and legislative institutions, for a four-year term of office; and the State Douma (lower chamber), which has 450 seats; its members are elected by direct universal suffrage from partisan lists, for a four-year term. The State Duma now includes 3 representatives from the "Republic of Crimea," while the Federation Council includes 2 each from the "Republic of Crimea" and the "Federal City of Sevastopol," both regions that Russia occupied and attempted to annex from Ukraine.
 

Indicator of Freedom of the Press

Definition:

The world rankings, published annually, measures violations of press freedom worldwide. It reflects the degree of freedom enjoyed by journalists, the media and digital citizens of each country and the means used by states to respect and uphold this freedom. Finally, a note and a position are assigned to each country. To compile this index, Reporters Without Borders (RWB) prepared a questionnaire incorporating the main criteria (44 in total) to assess the situation of press freedom in a given country. This questionnaire was sent to partner organisations,150 RWB correspondents, journalists, researchers, jurists and human rights activists. It includes every kind of direct attacks against journalists and digital citizens (murders, imprisonment, assault, threats, etc.) or against the media (censorship, confiscation, searches and harassment etc.).

World Rank:
150/180
 

Indicator of Political Freedom

Definition:

The Indicator of Political Freedom provides an annual evaluation of the state of freedom in a country as experienced by individuals. The survey measures freedom according to two broad categories: political rights and civil liberties. The ratings process is based on a checklist of 10 political rights questions (on Electoral Process, Political Pluralism and Participation, Functioning of Government) and 15 civil liberties questions (on Freedom of Expression, Belief, Associational and Organizational Rights, Rule of Law, Personal Autonomy and Individual Rights). Scores are awarded to each of these questions on a scale of 0 to 4, where a score of 0 represents the smallest degree and 4 the greatest degree of rights or liberties present. The total score awarded to the political rights and civil liberties checklist determines the political rights and civil liberties rating. Each rating of 1 through 7, with 1 representing the highest and 7 the lowest level of freedom, corresponds to a range of total scores.

Ranking:
Not Free
Political Freedom:
7/7

Political freedom in the world (interactive map)
Source: Freedom in the World Report, Freedom House

 

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Latest Update: February 2024