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The main representative and legislative body of the Russian Federation is its parliament, known as the Federal Assembly. In accordance with the principle of separation of powers, it exercises state authority in conjunction with the president, the government and the courts.

The Russian parliament, established by the Constitution in 1993, differs significantly from the higher representative bodies of the former USSR which were formed through uncontested elections and were designed to rubber-stamp motions proposed by the Communist Party leadership. The Federal Assembly is also different from the legislative body it replaced, the Supreme Soviet of Russia (1989-93).

The shelling of the parliament building by tanks: October 1993

The latter tried to broaden its authority at the expense of the president and the government during the initial stages of reform. This precipitated the conflict between the executive and the legislative branches that determined the development of Russian politics in 1992 and 1993 and reached its climax in the bloody clash in October 1993, when Yeltsin ordered the shelling of the parliament building by tanks after the Supreme Soviet had refused to obey his order to dissolve itself.

The new parliaments prerogatives are now more clearly delineated: in carrying out its representative and legislative functions, it cannot make claims to unlimited power, as was the case with the Supreme Soviet.

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Yeltsin's Legacy

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