Business News Russia - Page 19

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Monument to Minin and Pozharsky (1804–1816) in front of Saint Basil's Cathedral

checks and balances defined by the Constitution of the Russian Federation, which serves as the country's supreme legal document and as a social contract for the people of the Russian Federation. The federal government is composed of three branches:

* Legislative: The bicameral Federal Assembly, made up of the State Duma and the Federation Council adopts federal law, declares war, approves treaties, has the power of the purse, and has power of impeachment, by which it can remove the President.

* Executive: The president is the commander-in-chief of the military, can veto legislative bills before they become law, and appoints the Cabinet and other officers, who administer and enforce federal laws and policies.

* Judiciary: The Constitutional Court, Supreme Court, Supreme Court of Arbitration and lower federal courts, whose judges are appointed by the Federation Council on the recommendation of the president, interpret laws and can overturn laws they deem unconstitutional.

According to the Constitution, the justice in the court is based on the equality of all citizens, judges are independent and subject only to the law, trials are to be open and the accused is guaranteed a defense. Since 1996, Russia has instituted a moratorium on the death penalty, although capital punishment has not been abolished by law.

The president is elected by popular vote for a six-year term (eligible for a second term but constitutionally barred for a third consecutive term); election last held in 2008. Ministries of the

government are composed of the premier and his deputies, ministers, and selected other individuals; all are appointed by the president on the recommendation of the Prime Minister (whereas the appointment of the latter requires the consent of the State Duma). The national legislature is the Federal Assembly, which consists of two chambers; the 450-member State Duma and the 176-member Federation Council. Leading political parties in Russia include United Russia, the Communist Party, the Liberal Democratic Party of Russia, and Fair Russia.

Human rights

The rights and liberties of the citizens of the Russian Federation are granted by Chapter 2 of the Constitution. Russia is a signatory to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and has also