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On March 9 2004 the president of the Russian Federation adopted Decree 314 On the System and Structure of Federal Executive Authorities (the Decree). The Decree, which came into force on March 11 2004, and the recent Presidential Decree 649 of May 20 2004 amending the Decree, provide for the general restructuring of the system of federal executive authorities and increase the effectiveness of the new federal executive authorities system. The Decree abolished most federal bodies and delegated their functions to newly organized ones.

According to the provisions of the Decree, the federal authorities in Russia are now divided into three types: federal ministries, federal services and federal agencies. Federal services and federal agencies are normally under the jurisdiction of federal ministries, although in some cases they may be subordinated to the president of the Russian Federation.

Federal ministries form state policy in corresponding spheres by issuing normative legal acts. With a few exceptions, federal ministries have no power to control, supervise or manage state property. Federal services are responsible for the control and supervision of business relations in relevant spheres. Federal services also perform special functions in defence, state security, and protection of the state border. Federal agencies provide state services, manage state property and oversee law enforcement duties, but without control and supervision functions. In addition, both federal services and federal agencies are competent to adopt individual legal acts in their sphere of activity.

The government of the Russian Federation will adopt regulations on the federal executive authorities, and also bring other legal acts into compliance with the Decree by September 1 2004.

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