РОССИЯ
Officially: Российская Федерация.
English: Russia.
Seat of government: Москва.
Status: Not democratic.
Structure: An autocracy controlled by the current president.
Head of government: Владимир Путин, president; assisted by Дмитрий Медведев, prime minister.
Governing party: Единая Россия; unofficially, the силовики.
Other parliamentary parties: Коммунистическая Партия Российской Федерации, led by Геннадий Зюганов; Либерально-Демократическая Партия, led by Владимир Жириновский; Справедливая Россия: Родина/Пенсионеры/Жизнь, a Путинist front group.
Non-parliamentary opposition: Яблоко, led by Сергей Митрохин; Другая Россия, led by Гарри Каспаров; Партия Прогресса, led by Алексей Навальный.
Assessment: Never liberal and only briefly democratic. The will of the majority may sometimes prevail, but electoral democracy is no longer practiced faithfully. Путин was prime minister in an elected government when president Борис Ельцин (1991-9) resigned, and became president constitutionally. As prime minister, he had helped oversee a war to reconquer Noxiy, partially based on dubious evidence of a terrorist attack in Москва. This act helped him achieve a lopsided popular win in a 2000 presidential election. Since then, he has acted autocratically and concentrated power to himself personally, regardless of which office he has held; this includes consolidating control over regional government and the media, and persecuting opposition supporters, among them the олигархи, whose wealth has corrupt origins but who were tolerated until they began using their wealth in opposition. He has also shown imperialist tendencies, especially towards Noxiy and Україна, but these seem to have majoritarian backing. Every party in the current and previous parliaments is grossly illiberal, three of them Путинist; another front party, Правое Дело, has been created from some of the former opposition. After serving two full terms as president (2000-8), Путин was constitutionally ineligible to run again; he was officially a candidate for parliament in 2008, and continued to rule as premier after installing then-premier Дмитрий Медведев as president. Later that year, Россия invaded საქართველო Sak‛art‛velo and took on overt protection of Хуссар Ирыстон and Аҧсны, after clashes in Хуссар Ирыстон. A 2011 parliamentary election saw Единая Россия reduced to a bare majority, even with significant ballot fraud, as Путин prepared to resume the presidency in 2012. In 2014, after the ouster of a pro-Россия government in Україна, Россия took control of and formally annexed Крым, and intervened to secure the independence (or possible Российский control) of much of the Донбасс. A 2016 parliamentary election officially produced no significant change in party composition.
FH: 6-5, not free; 7-7, not free (for occupied Noxiy). Econ: 4.48 (107), hybrid.
Updated: 2016 October 7.
 

ХУССАР ИРЫСТОН
Officially: Республик Хуссар Ирыстон; Республика Южная Осетия.
English: South Ossetia.
Seat of government: Чъреба.
Status: Not democratic.
Structure: Likely under the control of Россия; constitutionally controlled by a directly-elected president and an elected legislature.
Heads of government: Тыбылты Леонид, president, and probably Владимир Путин, president of Россия.
Parliamentary parties: Иугонд Ирыстон; Адмы Иудзинад; Адмон Парти; Ныхас.
Assessment: Most of the territory of the former Хуссар Ирыстоны Автономон Бӕстӕ seceded from საქართველო Sak‛art‛velo in 1991, but without recognition. Official results of a 1992 referendum for independence showed 90% in favor; the results were rejected internationally largely because the international community rejects any separatism. Following exchanges with საქართველო Sak‛art‛velo and an attempt by საქართველო Sak‛art‛velo to reclaim the territory, Россия invaded in 2008 and is now occupying the territory; its security services were reported to be in effective control even before the war. Official results of a 2009 election returned a large majority, and apparently every parliamentary seat, behind longtime ruler Кокойты Эдуард (2001-11). In 2011, an election for a new president, apparently won by opposition figure Джиоты Алл over Россияs preferred candidate Бибылты Анатоли, was annulled; following protests, Кокойты resigned, replaced by prime minister Вадим Бровцев, and a new election was scheduled for 2012 with Джиоты excluded. Тыбылты was the official winner in a runoff. In 2014 parliamentary elections, Иугонд Ирыстон, led by Бибылты, officially won a majority of seats. A 2015 agreement to integrate security and customs forces with Россия would probably mean the effective end of independence.
FH: 7-6, not free.
Updated: 2015 March 18.
 

O.T. FORD