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State Duma
Госуда́рственная ду́ма
Gosudarstvennaya Duma
logo Parliament building
logo Parliament building
Basic data
Seat: State Duma building, 1 Okhotny Ryad, Moscow
Legislative period : 5 years
MPs: 450
Current legislative period
Last choice: 18th September 2016
Chair: Vyacheslav Viktorovich Volodin ( ER )
Composition of the Duma
Distribution of seats:
  • ER 343
  • KPRF 42
  • LDPR 39
  • SR 23
  • Rodina 1
  • BPL 1
  • Independent 1
  • Website

    The Duma ( Russian Ду́ма ) or State Duma ( Государственная Дума Gossudarstvennaja Duma ) is the lower house, the second chamber of parliament of the Federation Assembly of Russia , which is directly elected by the people . The word Duma ( German thought ) is derived from the Old Slavic and Russian dumat ' (German to think ) and generally designates an advisory assembly or body, for example a city ​​council , but also its meeting house.

    History of origin

    Originally, the Duma was an assembly of secular rulers ( boyars ) who formed a counterweight to the clergy in the Semski Sobor . In 1649 the Semski Sobor consisted of 315 members. Under the Romanovs , this meeting of estates gradually lost its importance. In 1721 Peter the Great created the governing senate and restricted the power of the clergy more and more. The Senate and its successor institutions consisted of only a few people, and there was practically no separation of powers . Only the state or imperial council , which was appointed by the tsar and was mainly made up of members of the aristocracy , finally grew to 90 members by 1905.

    The introduction of democratic institutions in imperial Russia began with the formation of local self-government in the countryside ( Zemstvo ) in 1864 and in the cities (City Duma) in 1870.

    First State Duma from 1906

    Tsar Nicholas II opens parliament with a speech from the
    throne (1906)

    After the St. Petersburg Bloody Sunday and the revolution of 1905 it triggered , Tsar Nicholas II approved the creation of a State Duma as a second chamber alongside the Imperial Council in the October Manifesto . This first all-Russian parliament was elected from March 26 to April 20, 1906. While the socialist parties boycotted the election, the liberal reformers had high hopes for the first Duma, which met in the Tauride Palace . The parliament, however, was largely dependent on the power of the tsar. The government reserved the right to govern by emergency decrees during the breaks in meetings, which only had to be subsequently confirmed by the Duma. The Duma was founded on April 27th . / May 10, 1906 greg. opened by the tsar after 72 days, on July 8th . / July 21, 1906 greg. dissolved again. The reason for this was that the MPs embarked on a comprehensive agrarian reform, which the tsar rejected. The protest against the dissolution, the Vyborg Manifesto , faded away without result.

    Second State Duma from 1907

    The second State Duma only met for a few months, from February 20 to June 2, 1907. Since the socialist parties had participated in the election this time, they had a majority in parliament. The new MPs pressed for a solution to the agricultural question even more uncompromisingly than their predecessors. Prime Minister Pyotr Stolypin therefore induced the Tsar to release her early. By decree of June 3, 1907, Nicholas II, contrary to his promises in the October Manifesto, changed the electoral law so that cities, landless peasants and the non-Russian minorities were severely disadvantaged compared to the Russian upper class and nobility.

    Third State Duma from 1907

    The third State Duma, which met that same year on November 1, 1907, was therefore dominated by conservative, nationalist and government-loyal parties such as the Octobrists. But even in this parliament, which lasted a full legislative period until June 9, 1912, Stolypin and his successors did not find any permanent majorities.

    Fourth State Duma from 1912

    The same applied to the fourth State Duma, which was constituted on November 15, 1912. Since the beginning of the First World War in 1914, it temporarily suspended its meetings. After the outbreak of the February Revolution in 1917 , the Duma majority urged the last government of the tsar to resign and formed the Provisional Government under the liberal Prince Lvov , a member of the Constitutional Democrats . Until the October Revolution of the same year, this exercised dual power in competition with the Petrograd Soviet and later the First All-Russian Congress of Soviets . On October 6, 1917, the Provisional Government formally dissolved the Duma with a view to the upcoming Constituent Assembly.

    The Council of People's Commissars , which ruled shortly afterwards , the Bolshevik revolutionary government under Lenin , finally abolished the Duma on December 12, 1917 by decree. The element of the legislature, in the then only rudimentary separation of powers, then took over the Second All-Russian Congress of Soviets and its All-Russian Central Executive Committee elected from it .

    Distribution of seats in the State Duma from 1906 to 1917
    fraction 1st Duma 2nd Duma 3rd Duma 4th Duma
    April-June 1906 February-June 1907 1907-1912 1912-1917
    Russian Social Democratic Labor Party - 65 14th 14th
    Social Revolutionaries - 34 - -
    Trudoviki 94 101 14th 10
    Progressives - - 39 47
    Constitutional Democrats 179 92 52 57
    Nationalities 121 - 21st 26th
    Centrists - - - 33
    Octobrists 17th 32 120 99
    Nationalists - - 76 88
    Extreme rights 15th 63 53 64

    The Duma in post-Soviet Russia

    Establishment of the Duma

    After the dissolution of the Congress of People's Deputies by the Russian President Boris Yeltsin on September 21, 1993 and after his victory over the resistance of the Congress in October 1993, he presented a new constitution: It is based on the principle of the separation of powers , and on December 12 In 1993 the electorate gave its approval in a referendum . The two-chamber parliament provided for in the constitution consists of the Federation Council , which represents the 83 (currently 85) federal subjects of the Russian Federation , and the State Duma, which has 450 members . Until December 2003 and again since 2016, half of them will be elected according to lists, the other half directly ( right to vote ); in between, the composition of the Duma was determined by means of a proportional representation (with a threshold clause of 7%). Each MP is elected for a four-year term (Article 96). Russian citizens can be elected to the Duma at the age of 21 (Article 97). The State Duma has to confirm the head of government appointed by the president, can express mistrust in the government and pass laws that the Federation Council approves and that the president must sign. In Russia's semi-presidential system, the Duma has a comparatively weak position vis-à-vis the President - similar to the French Parliament of the 5th Republic . By 2016, the Duma had earned itself the nickname "the wild printer" because parliament had passed restrictive laws supported by the Kremlin at record speed. At the beginning of 2020, Gleb Pavlovsky wrote to the Duma that the "calls from the Kremlin" determined the agenda of the State Duma and thus the work of the government.

    Duma 1993

    The first State Duma under President Boris Yeltsin and the President of the State Duma Ivan Rybkin was elected for only two years in the parliamentary elections on December 12, 1993 .

    Duma 1995

    In the parliamentary elections on December 17, 1995 , the Duma was elected for a normal legislative period of four years. The spectrum of parties in Russia was highly fragmented. 49.5% of the electorate voted for one of the parties that failed to reach the 5% hurdle. The strongest party was the KPRF with 22.3% of the vote, followed by the LDPR (11.2%). The party “ Our House Russia ” received 10.1%, Yabloko 6.9%.

    Duma 1999

    In the parliamentary elections on December 19, 1999 , the KPRF received 24.3%, the pro-Putin lists “Unity” (= “Bear”) and “Fatherland - All Russia” with 23.2% and 13.3% respectively however more. In the democratic spectrum, the Union of Right Forces received 8.5%, Yabloko 5.93%. The Zhirinovsky bloc was also represented in the Duma with 5.98%.

    Duma 2003

    In the fourth parliamentary elections on December 7, 2003 , the parties that were close to the government under Vladimir Putin (for example Jedinaja Rossija - United Russia ) won an absolute majority of the seats. The right-wing national Liberal Democrats (LDPR) also gained votes, while the opposition Communist Party of the Russian Federation , the strongest faction to date, lost. The western-oriented liberal parties Union of Right Forces and Yabloko failed to pass the five percent hurdle . 44 women were among the 450 MPs.

    In autumn 2007, before the parliamentary elections , the following groups were represented in the Duma:

    Duma 2007

    Prime Minister Vladimir Putin addresses the State Duma (May 8, 2008)

    The following distribution of seats resulted from the parliamentary election on December 2, 2007 :

    Political party Number of seats
    United Russia 315
    Communist Party of the Russian Federation 57
    Liberal Democratic Party of Russia 40
    Just Russia 38

    of which male / female



    Compared to the situation before the elections, the relative seat share of the ruling party United Russia has increased slightly to 70%. With the election, the representatives of a development in Russia modeled on Western democracies disappeared completely from parliament. Previously, they were still represented as non-attached MPs in the Duma. The possibility of being elected to parliament as an individual candidate was abolished before the election.

    Duma 2011

    State Duma deputies ID card

    The following distribution of seats emerged from the parliamentary election on December 4, 2011 :

    Political party Number of seats
    United Russia 238
    Communist Party of the Russian Federation 92
    Just Russia 64
    Liberal Democratic Party of Russia 56
    total 450

    The share of seats for United Russia fell to 53% (after 70% in 2007), from which the other three parties that had also been represented in the Duma so far benefited: The Communist Party improved to 20.4% (after 12.7% in 2007). Fair Russia to 14.2% (after 8.4% in 2007) and the Liberal Democratic Party to 12.4% (after 8.9% in 2007).

    After the election, there were massive protests and demonstrations against alleged election fraud .

    Duma 2016

    At the end of May 2015, it became known that efforts were being made to bring the parliamentary elections in Russia forward from December to September 2016. In July, the Federation Council Committee recommended this postponement. Critics noted that the postponement of the parliamentary elections in Russia in 2016 served to ignore the election campaign and to achieve a lower expected turnout, since summer holidays in Russia are being made. Added to this was the hopelessness of a real election, since only the ruling party and the supporting “system opposition” had a chance in the reintroduced system of direct mandates. The participation in this early election was correspondingly low at 47.8 percent compared to 60 percent in 2011; it was even lower in the cities and only reached 30 percent in Moscow. In surveys, based on their expectations, over 20 percent of those surveyed said they were willing to sell their votes themselves.


    Word of the year 2013 in Russia was gosdura, translated as “state fool ”: a play on words from the short word Gosduma for “State Duma” and dura for fool . The human rights activist Lyudmila Alexejewa also drew attention to the use of this word for a Duma that delivers laws on an assembly line.


    Web links

    Wiktionary: Duma  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations
    Commons : Russian State Duma  - collection of pictures, videos and audio files

    Individual evidence

    1. www.klett.de: 1st to 4th State Duma 1906–1917 , queried on May 9, 2011
    2. ^ Matthias Stadelmann (2006): The Romanovs . Kohlhammer ( ISBN 978-3170189478 ), p. 225 ( online ).
    3. Gesine Dornblüth: Small losses for democratic paint . On deutschlandfunk.de
    4. Vyacheslav Volodin: Could the new State Duma speaker be the next president? , RBTH, October 6, 2016
    5. "Change in the form of manipulation" or "Revolution from above"? , Novaya Gazeta, January 15, 2020
    6. Three parliamentary groups are in favor of postponing the State Duma elections , Novaya Gazeta, May 29, 2015
    7. ↑ The Federation Council will discuss the broadcast of the State Duma election on the 3rd Sunday in September 2016 , TASS, July 8, 2015
    8. Lyudmila Alexejewa: "There is no way around human rights activists"  ( page can no longer be accessed , search in web archivesInfo: The link was automatically marked as defective. Please check the link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. , RBTH, June 5, 2015@1@ 2Template: Dead Link / de.rbth.com  
    9. Low voter turnout in Russia , SZ, September 18, 2016
    10. Around 30% voter turnout in Moscow: Duma elections suffer from lethargy , Aargauer Zeitung, September 19, 2016
    11. Almost a quarter of Russians would sell votes , Die Zeit, August 22, 2016
    12. ^ Meeting of the Council for the Development of Civil Society and Human Rights on October 30, 2017 on the website of the President of Russia

    Coordinates: 55 ° 45 ′ 29 ″  N , 37 ° 36 ′ 55 ″  E