The current constitution of the Russian Federation was approved in Dec., 1993; it replaced the constitution that the country had inherited from the RSFSR and subsequently amended. It provides for a republic whose government has separate and independent executive, legislative, and judicial branches.
The head of state is a popularly elected president whose powers were substantially increased under the new constitution. The president appoints the Prime Minister and can dissolve the legislature if it three times refuses to approve his choice for that post.
The legislature, or Federal Assembly, is divided into an Upper House, the Federation Council, and a Lower House, the State Duma. The Federation Council has 178 members, consisting of two representatives from the governments of each republic, territory, region, and area. The State Duma has 450 members. Half are elected from districts; the rest of the seats are distributed proportionally among those parties whose national vote exceeds 5%.