State Duma

The State Duma (Russian: Госуда́рственная ду́ма, tr. Gosudárstvennaya dúma), commonly abbreviated in Russian as Gosduma (Russian: Госду́ма), is the lower house of the Federal Assembly of Russia, while the upper house is the Council of the Federation. The Duma headquarters are located in central Moscow, a few steps from Manege Square. Its members are referred to as deputies. The State Duma replaced the Supreme Soviet as a result of the new constitution introduced by Boris Yeltsin in the aftermath of the Russian constitutional crisis of 1993, and approved by the Russian people in a referendum.

State Duma

Государственная дума (Russian)

Gosudarstvennaya duma
7th State Duma
Lower House
of the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation
Established12 December 1993
Preceded bySupreme Soviet of Russia (1993)
Vyacheslav Volodin, United Russia
since 5 October 2016
First Deputy Chairmen
Alexander Zhukov, United Russia
since 5 October 2016
Ivan Melnikov, Communist Party
since 5 October 2016
Political groups
Government (335)
  •   United Russia (335)

Other parties (107)

  •   Communist Party (42)
  •   Liberal Democratic Party (40)
  •   A Just Russia — Patriots — For Truth (23)
  •   Rodina (1)
  •   Civic Platform (1)

Vacant (8)

  •   Vacant (8)[1]
Length of term
5 years
Parallel voting: 225 FPTP seats, 225 PR seats with 5% electoral threshold (Largest remainder method)[2]
Last election
18 September 2016
Next election
By 19 September 2021
Meeting place
State Duma Building
1 Okhotny Ryad Street, Moscow

In the 2007 and 2011 Russian legislative elections a full party-list proportional representation with 7% electoral threshold system was used, but this was subsequently repealed. The legislature's term length was initially 2 years in the 1993–1995 elections period, and 4 years in 1999–2007 elections period; since the 2011 elections the term length is 5 years.


Duma Building on Manege square.

The history of the Duma dates back to the Boyar dumas of Kievan Rus' and Muscovite Russia as well to Tsarist Russia.[3][4][5] The State Duma was founded in 1905 after the violence and upheaval in the Russian Revolution of 1905 and was Russia's first elected parliament. The first two attempts by Tsar Nicholas II (1868-1918) to make it active were ineffective. Subsequently, each of these Dumas was dissolved after only a few months. The third Duma was the only one to last until the end of its five-year term. After the 1907 electoral reform, the third Duma, elected in November 1907, was largely made up of members of the upper classes, as radical influences in the Duma had almost entirely been removed. The establishment of the Duma after the 1905 Revolution was to herald significant changes to the previous Russian Imperial autocratic system. Furthermore, the Duma was later to have an important effect on Russian history, as it was one of the contributing factors in the February Revolution of 1917, the first of two that year, which led to the abolition of autocracy in Russia and the overthrow of the Tsar.

Several generations and 75 years later after another revolutionary era, in the December 1993 elections pro-Yeltsin parties won 175 seats in the Duma versus 125 seats for the left bloc. The balance of power lay with the sixty-four deputies of the ultranationalist Liberal Democratic Party of Russia. Only parties that won more than five percent of the vote were given party-list seats: eight passed the threshold in 1993. In addition to those eight parties, a pool of thirty-five deputies was entitled to form a registered group to reflect regional or sectoral interests. Business was governed by a steering committee, the Duma Council, consisting of one person from each party or group. The most important task was dividing up the chair positions in the Duma's twenty-three committees, which was done as part of a power-sharing "package" deal.

Despite the fact that the 1993 Russian Constitution states that the State Duma is elected for four years, it was decided to elect the first State Duma for two years.[6]

During the second half of the 1990s, the Duma became an important forum for lobbying by regional leaders and businessmen looking for tax breaks and legislative favors. The work of the leading committees, such as those for defense, foreign affairs, or budget, attracted a good deal of media attention and lobbying activity.

In the early 2000s, following the 1999 parliamentary elections, the pro-presidential Unity party and the Communist Party were the leading forces in the State Duma.

After the 2003 elections, a Dominant-party system was established in the State Duma with the pro-presidential United Russia party. In all subsequent elections, United Russia has always received an absolute majority of seats (more than 226). After the 2007 elections, a four-party system was formed with a United Russia, Communist Party, Liberal Democratic Party and A Just Russia. Other parties could not get enough votes to go to the State Duma. Only in 2016 elections, two other parties, Rodina and the Civic Platform, were able to get one seat.

In 2008, after the adoption of amendments to the Constitution, the term of the State Duma was increased from four to five years.

A 2016 exposé by Dissernet showed that one in nine members of the State Duma had obtained academic degrees with theses that were substantially plagiarized and likely ghostwritten.[7] In 2018, it became known that the State Duma Building will be reconstructed. In March 2019 it became known that the repair will begin in May 2019 and will end in September 2020. During this period, the State Duma will temporarily be located in the House of Unions. In addition, a draft of a new conference room, which would be an amphitheatre, was presented.[8][9][10]


The State Duma has special powers enumerated by the Constitution of Russia. They are:

  • Consent to the appointment of the Prime Minister of Russia.
  • Hearing annual reports from the Government of the Russian Federation on the results of its work, including on issues raised by the State Duma.
  • Deciding the issue of confidence in the Government of the Russian Federation.
  • Appointment and dismissal of the Chairman of the Central Bank of Russia.
  • Appointment and dismissal of the Chairman and half of the auditors of the Accounts Chamber.
  • Appointment and dismissal of the Commissioner for Human rights, who shall act according to federal constitutional law.
  • Announcement of amnesty.
  • Bringing charges against the President of the Russian Federation for his impeachment (requires a two-thirds majority).

The State Duma adopts decrees on issues relating to its authority by the Constitution of the Russian Federation.


Constituencies are used for elections.


Voting device.

Decrees of the State Duma are adopted by a majority of the total number of deputies of the State Duma, unless another procedure is envisaged by the Constitution. All bills are first approved by the State Duma and are further debated and approved (or rejected) by the Federation Council.

Relatively few roll call votes have been published that identify individual deputies' votes.[11] The votes of individuals are recorded only if the voting is open and the electronic method is used.[11] While not all votes are officially roll call votes, every time a deputy electronically votes a computer registers the individual deputy's vote.[12]


Any Russian citizen who is age 21 or older is eligible to participate in the election may be elected deputy to the State Duma.[13] However, that same person may not be a deputy to the Federation Council. In addition, a State Duma deputy cannot hold office in any other representative body of state power or bodies of local self-government. The office as deputy of the State Duma is a full-time and professional position.[14] Thus, deputies to the State Duma may not be employed in the civil service or engage in any activities for remuneration other than teaching, research or other creative activities.

Chairmen of the State Duma

Vyacheslav Volodin with South Korean President Moon Jae-in in the State Duma, 21 June 2018
  • Ivan Rybkin (1994–1996)
  • Gennadiy Seleznyov (1996–2003)
  • Boris Gryzlov (2003–2011)
  • Sergey Naryshkin (2011–2016)
  • Vyacheslav Volodin (since 2016)

List of the State Duma convocations

Duma Period Election
1st 12 December 1993 – 16 December 1995 1993
2nd 17 December 1995 – 19 December 1999 1995
3rd 19 December 1999 – 7 December 2003 1999
4th 7 December 2003 – 24 December 2007 2003
5th 2 December 2007 – 21 December 2011 2007
6th 21 December 2011 – 5 October 2016 2011
7th 5 October 2016 – current 2016

Latest election

Party PR Constituency Total result
Votes % ±pp Seats Votes % Seats Seats +/–
United Russia28,527,82854.204.87 140 25,162,77048.42 203 343 +105
Communist Party of the Russian Federation7,019,75213.345.85 35 6,492,14512.93 7 42 –50
Liberal Democratic Party of Russia6,917,06313.141.47 34 5,064,7949.75 5 39 –17
A Just Russia3,275,0536.227.02 16 5,017,6459.66 7 23 –41
Communists of Russia1,192,5952.27N/A 0 1,847,8243.56 0 0 +0
Yabloko1,051,3351.991.44 0 1,323,7932.55 0 0 +0
Russian Party of Pensioners for Justice910,8481.73N/A[note 1] 0 No SMC +0
Rodina792,2261.51N/A[note 2] 0 1,241,6422.39 1 1 +1
Party of Growth679,0301.290.69 0 1,171,2592.250 +0
The Greens399,4290.76N/A[note 3] 0 770,0761.480+0
People's Freedom Party384,6750.73N/A[note 4] 0 530,8621.020+0
Patriots of Russia310,0150.590.38 0 704 1971.360+0
Civic Platform115,4330.22N/A 0 364,1000.7011 +1
Civilian Power73,9710.14N/A 0 79,9220.150+0
Independent No Party list429,0510.83 11 +1
Invalid/blank votes 982,5961.87–0.30 1,767,7253.40
Total 52,700,9221000.0022551,967,8051002254500
Registered voters/turnout 110,061,20047.880.00 109,636,79447.40


  1. Russian Party of Pensioners for Justice participated in the last election as part of A Just Russia.[15]
  2. Rodina participated in the last election as part of A Just Russia.[15]
  3. The Greens participated in the last election as part of A Just Russia.[16]
  4. The party did not participate in the 2011 elections because its registration was revoked from 2007 until 2012.


  1. "Fractions".
  2. "Федеральный закон от 22.02.2014 № 20-ФЗ "О выборах депутатов Государственной Думы Федерального Собрания Российской Федерации"" [Federal Law of 22 February 22, 2014 No. 20-FZ "On the Election of Deputies of the State Duma of the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation"]. 24 February 2014. Archived from the original on 27 February 2014. Retrieved 21 June 2020.
  3. Vernadsky, George, 1887-1973. (1973). Kievan Russia. New Haven: Yale University Press. p. 182. ISBN 0300016476. OCLC 7985902.CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  4. "Boyar | Russian aristocrat". Encyclopedia Britannica. Retrieved 21 June 2020.
  5. "Duma". Retrieved 21 June 2020.
  6. "Constitution of Russia. Second Section. Concluding and Transitional Provisions". Retrieved 21 June 2020.
  7. Neyfakh, Leon (22 May 2016). "The Craziest Black Market in Russia". Slate. ISSN 1091-2339. Archived from the original on 30 December 2016. Retrieved 21 June 2020.
  8. "В Госдуме показали проект нового зала пленарных заседаний" [The State Duma showed a draft of a new plenary room]. (in Russian). 7 March 2019. Retrieved 21 June 2020.
  9. "Представлены эскизы нового зала заседаний Госдумы" [Sketches of the new State Duma conference hall presented]. (in Russian). 7 March 2019. Retrieved 21 June 2020.
  10. "Ремонт зала в Госдуме планируют завершить к сентябрю 2020 года" [Repair of the hall in the State Duma is planned to be completed by September 2020]. TASS (in Russian). 7 March 2019. Retrieved 21 June 2020.
  11. Chandler, Andrea (2004). Shocking Mother Russia: Democratization, Social Rights, and Pension Reform in Russia, 1990-2001. University of Toronto Press. p. 97. ISBN 0-8020-8930-5.
  12. Ostrow, Joel M. (2000). Comparing Post-Soviet Legislatures: A Theory of Institutional Design and Political Conflict. Ohio State University Press. pp. 24–25. ISBN 0-8142-0841-X. LCCN 99-059121.
  13. Article 97 (2). Constitution of Russia.
  14. Article 97 (3). Constitution of Russia.
  15. "Ушли по справедливости" [Left for justice]. (in Russian). 30 October 2012. Retrieved 21 June 2020.
  16. "Партия "Зеленые" вновь появится в России" ["Green" party will reappear in Russia] (in Russian). 11 February 2012. Archived from the original on 19 April 2012. Retrieved 21 June 2020.
  17. "Результаты выборов по федеральному избирательному округу" [Election results for federal constituency]. (in Russian). Retrieved 21 June 2020.

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