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General Congress of Alaska (Russian America)

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General Congress of Alaska
Генеральный Съезд Аляски
Generalny Syezd Alyaski
XXIX Convocation
Coat of Arms of Alaska (Russian America)
Type
Type Bicameral
Houses Senate
State Duma
Leadership
Chairman of the Senate Diana Feinstein (DMS)
(Since September 7, 2009)
Chairman of the State Duma Ivan Kantor (VZ)
(Since June 24, 2014)
Structure
Seats 515
(90 Senators)
(425 Deputies)
Senate of Alaska (Russian America)
Senate
Political Groups
  DMS (49)
  Evergreens (38)
State Duma of Alaska (Russian America)
State Duma
Political Groups
  Evergreens (288)
  DMS (182)
Elections
Voting System LV, STV (Senate)
FPTP, IRV (State Duma)
Last Election July 28, 2015
Next Election July 31, 2018 (State Duma)
July 27, 2021 (Senate)
Elections
Alaska1
General Congress Building
New Archangel, Sitka, Alaska

The General Congress of Alaska (Russian: Генеральный Съезд Аляски, Generalny Syezd Alyaski), colloquially known as the Congress (Съезд, Syezd), is the federal legislature of the Alaskan Democratic Federative Republic. The bicameral body is comprised of an upper house (the Senate) and a lower house (the State Duma). With the exclusion of specific, constitutional duties, both chambers have equal powers.

History

Following a series of rebellions in 1905, the Russian Empire reluctantly agreed to give Russian America more autonomy. This included the creation of a democratic legislature, which was the brainchild of Sergei Witte. As written in his October Manifesto, Witte proposed restructuring the Empire into a constitutional monarchy. These proposals were fully rejected by Tsar Nicolas II, who later would reluctantly agree to allow some of these proposals to be implemented in American colonies.

Муромцев

Pavel Milyukov, Chairman of the First State Duma.

Despite hopes of creating an autonomous legislature with powers akin to those of the Commonwealth Realm, the Tsar would retain enough power to veto actions made by the State Duma. This came to a head in 1906, whereby Nicholas II ordered the dissolution of the first State Duma over disagreements. Such issues would continue until March 1917, when Alaska would formally declare independence from the Russian Empire.

Throughout the Alaskan Wars, most of the legislative bodies across Alaska would abandon the European-based parliamentary rules in favor of more republican ones (akin to those of the United States Congress). The first convocation of a reunited Alaska began in 1931, with the rest of contemporary Alaska being represented by the ninth convocation in 1955.

Composition

Senate

The Senate (Сенат, Senat) is the upper house. This chamber is currently comprised of 90 senators (сенаторы, senatory).

This chamber was influenced by the United States Senate, whereby all of the governorates of Alaska are equally represented (regardless of their economy and/or population). As it currently stands, each governorate is entitled to five seats.

All Senate seats are up for election every six years, taking place concurrently with all presidential elections. Unlike in the US Senate (where senators of the same state are rarely voted on together), Alaskans vote for all five of their senators at once (as if it were a multi-member constituency). Limited voting is currently the standard used by most governorate. However, this has been changing with the introduction of single transferable voting in Sonoma and a few other governorates.

At the beginning of each convocation, one of the sitting senators is voted on (by the remaining senators) to serve as the Chairman of the Senate (председатель Сената, predsedatel Senata). For all intense and purposes, the chairman is almost always one of the leading members of the majority political party (though this is not a requirement). The current chairman is Diana Feinstein of the Movement for Peace and Freedom. Karl Schumer of the Evergreens currently serves as the opposition leader.

In accordance with the Constitution of Alaska, should the President of Alaska be unable to serve the office (be it death, impeachment, resignation, etc.), the Chairman of the Senate would become the acting president until such time as new elections can be held.

State Duma

The State Duma (Государственная Дума, Gosudarstvennaya Duma) is the lower house. This chamber is currently comprised of 425 deputies (депутаты, deputaty).

New b-76

Chamber of the State Duma.

This chamber was modeled after the United States House of Representatives, in which all of the seats are proportionally given to the governorates of Alaska based on their population (though all governorates are constitutionally guaranteed at least one seat). The number of seats are determined following the completion of the novennial census, with any changes taking effect the following election cycle. Based on the number of seats they are allocated, the governorates are than partitioned into as many congressional districts (съездовские округа, syezdovskiye okruga), with each having (as close as possible) the same population as the others.

All seats of the State Duma are up for election every three years, with those taking place in-between presidential elections being called midterm elections (среднесрочные выборы, srednesrochnyye vybory). Alaskans of each congressional district vote for a single member using first-past-the-post voting or (in some governorates) ranked voting.

At the beginning of each convocation, one of the sitting deputies is voted on (by the remaining deputies) to serve as the Chairman of the State Duma (председатель Государственной Думы, predsedatel Gosudarstvennoy Dumy). For all intense and purposes, the chairman is almost always one of the leading members of the majority political party (though this is not a requirement). The current chairman is Ivan Kantor of the Evergreens. Ivanna Shchakovskaya of the Movement for Peace and Freedom currently serves as the opposition leader.

General Congress Building

Alaska3

Visitors inside the "egg" of the General Congress Building.

The General Congress Building (Здание Генерального Съезда, Zdaniye Generalnogo Syezda), located in New Archangel, is the home of both chambers of the General Congress. The current building was designed by Foma Ruchkin, with construction beginning during the Kardash administration. Talks of such a project had been discussed since the early 1950s, when the capital city was developing rapidly. Another key argument for the project was to establish Alaska as a modern and distinctive nation from the former Russian Empire and the Soviet Union.

The new building was completed in the early 1970s and would serve as the national legislative building from the XVI Convocation onward. Though most Alaskans favored the change, many New Archangelians viewed the new building as an eyesore. Over time, many began referring to the new building as the Egg (Яйцо, Yaytso), due to its oddly-shaped dome. This name would gradually be picked-up by the national consciousness and has since become the colloquially used name.

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