The representation of political and economic elites in the Russian Federation Council
Today's Russian Federation Council, the upper chamber of the bicameral parliament, effectively represents the federal government in the regions rather than providing the regions representation in federal policy-making. The system of choosing members has evolved considerably over time, from direct elections in the early to mid-1990s, to appointments today by the regional executive and legislative branches. In practice, the appointment process is neither democratic, nor representative, instead giving strong benefits to the ruling United Russia party, whose members dominate the chamber. Businesspeople make up a third of the members, but Russia's largest energy and metals companies do not see the rubber stamp body as a way to influence policy-making1.