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The Parliament of the Russian Empire (Russian: Парламент Русский Империе) commonly known as the Russian Parliament, is the supreme legislative body in the country. It is located in the capital city of Saint Petersburg. Parliament alone possesses legislative supremacy and thereby ultimate power over all other political bodies in Russia and its territories. At its head is the Sovereign, who is currently Empress Anastasia I.
The parliament is bicameral, with an upper house, The State Council, and a lower house, the State Duma. The Royal Sovereign is the third component of the legislature, with final say in approval of laws.
The State Council includes seven different types of members: Fifty-six are publicly elected members of the Zemstvo or local governments (one from each Gubernia), eighteen from the Assemblies of Nobility (which are hereditary), six members are appointed by Russian Orthodox Church, twelve seats are filled by stock exchange committees, chambers of commerce, and business associations, and six seats are filled by the Russian Academy of Sciences, 98 seats in total.
The State Duma is a democratically elected chamber with elections to it held every six years, with 580 seats in total. The two Houses meet in separate palaces in Saint Petersburg, with the State Duma meeting in the Tavrichesky Palace and the State Council in the Mariinsky Palace. By constitutional convention, all government ministers, including the Prime Minister, are members of the State Duma.
The Parliament of Russia was formed in 1882 following the ratification of the Constitution by Tsar Alexander II on September 9th, 1881, and originally had 710 seats. In the early 20th century, the Parliament lost seats as territories once held by the Russian Empire broke away during the Territorial Crisis (1917-1920). Parliament was further reduced in the early 1990s with the ratification of The Commonwealth Treaty which gave the territories of Ukraine and Belarus independent Commonwealth status, in 1992.
In theory, supreme legislative power is vested in the Royal Soverien, in practice in times of peace, real power is vested in the State Duma, with the Sovereign generally acting on the advice of the Prime Minister. At times of war and other national crises, the Parliament can give the Royal Sovereign full, autocratic power, which is later returned to the Parliament.
Both houses of the Russian Parliament are presided over by a speaker, the Prime Minister for the Duma and the Head Statesman in the State Council .
For the Duma, the Prime Minister is often the leader of the majority party and approval of the State Council is required before the Premiership becomes valid, but it is, by modern convention, always granted. The Prime Minister's place may be taken by a minister chosen before hand if the Prime Minister is unavailable to preside over the Duma at a certain time. Both Houses must conduct their business in public, and there are galleries where visitors may sit.
Following a general election, a new Parliamentary session begins. Parliament is formally summoned by the Sovereign, who is the source of parliamentary authority. On the day indicated by the Sovereign's proclamation, the two Houses assemble in their respective chambers. The Duma then performs an election of Prime Minister; on the next day, the P.M. goes to the State Council, where the Council Members confirm the election and grant the new P.M. the royal approval in the Sovereign's name. Elections for the Duma are performed every six years