1.3. Main specifics of the constitutional system

The state authority at the national level exercise RF President, Federal Assembly, RF Government and RF Supreme court.

The RF President
The RF President is the head of the state, guarantor of human rights, freedoms and the Constitution observance. In accordance with established procedure he takes steps to preserve country sovereignty, independence and integrity, ensures coordinated actions of state authorities, defines the essences of internal and foreign state policies, and represents Russia within and outside country.

The Parliament
The Federal Assembly (below FA) or Parliament is the RF representative and legislative body which consists of two chambers: upper chamber (Federal Council, below FC) and lower chamber (State Duma, below SD). FA carries out lawmaking at the Russian scale, including laws on federal budget, and exercise control of executive powers' actions. Both chambers of FA are independent: each has its functions, regarding lawmaking procedure. Federal laws are to be adopted by SD (majority vote); most important laws shall be afterwards approved by FC.

The Government
RF Government is the highest federal executive body, which includes federal ministers and is headed by Chairman of Government. Resolutions and decrees of RF Government are valid throughout Russia.

Juridical power
The Constitution lists: RF Constitutional court, RF Supreme Court, RF Supreme Arbitral Court, respective regional courts. RF Constitutional court is enabled to control all state authorities, to pronounce judgments on conformity to Constitution of all normative acts, international agreements and to settle conflicts between federal and regional authorities. RF Supreme Court is highest judicial authority on civil, criminal and administrative cases. RF Supreme Arbitral Court is highest judicial authority on economic cases. Courts are financed by federal budget. After joining the Russia to Council of Europe the European Court Jurisdiction extends within Russian territory.
RF subjects (regions)
The state power of RF subjects is exercised by regional authorities, established by regions independently, according to Constitution and general principles, stipulated by federal laws. Each region has its elected representative body, head of the region (governor or president of republic), has its government and sectoral bodies, subordinated to government. According to federal laws there are established regional courts of different jurisdictions: constitutional (for republics) or charter courts (for other regions), courts of general jurisdiction (criminal and civil violations) and arbitration tribunals (economic conflicts). RF subjects are listed in RF Constitution. At the beginning there were 89 regions, but as the result of amalgamation of two regions there are now 88 of them and some more of regional amalgamations are expected.

Municipal units
In compliance with the Constitution within territorial parts of regions, as municipal districts, urban okrugs (municipal cities) and municipal settlements, the management of public property, urban development and the guarding of public order are performed by local municipal bodies. These bodies adopt their charters and by-laws, establish local taxes and dues, compose, adopt and implement local budgets. Local self-government is exercised by municipal units, which are usually established within territorial administrative units marked by some features. In Russia there are types of municipal units as follows: city, village, municipal district, city okrug (city with adjacent area) and for cities of federal importance (Moscow and St.-Petersburg) - part of city area. To 2007 in Russia there were 24 510 municipal units, including 520 city okrugs, 1819 municipal districts and 20 109 villages. At some territories municipal structures have two tiers: level of municipal districts and level of municipal settlements. Municipalities are enabled to join into associations to coordinate their activity, to establish municipal enterprises for local needs. According to federal law on local self-government within cities of federal importance - RF subjects Moscow and St. Petersburg "...to guarantee city services unity" the competences of municipalities (more than hundred of them in St. Petersburg and in Moscow) are defined by laws of these cites-regions. These municipal competences are smaller in both cases than elsewhere in country: the territorial planning (city master plans), land planning (for smaller areas, including blocks) and urban development regulation are performed at regional level. Municipalities of two megalopolises carry out townscape accomplishment works, introduce proposals to regional executive bodies regarding construction of local objects, register families with housing needs and coordinate the activity of public associations.