Headquartered in Moscow, the Academy (RAS) is considered a civil, self-governed, non-commercial organization chartered by the Government of Russia. It combines the members of RAS (see below) and scientists employed by institutions. Near the central academy building there is a monument to Yuri Gagarin in the square bearing his name.
There are three types of membership in the RAS: full members (academicians), corresponding members, and foreign members. Academicians and corresponding members must be citizens of the Russian Federation when elected. However, some academicians and corresponding members were elected before the collapse of the USSR and are now citizens of other countries. Members of RAS are elected based on their scientific contributions – election to membership is considered very prestigious. In the years 2005–2012, the academy had approximately 500 full and 700 corresponding members. But in 2013, after the Russian Academy of Agricultural Sciences and the Russian Academy of Medical Sciences became incorporated into the RAS, a number of the RAS members accordingly increased.
The last elections to the renewed Russian Academy of Sciences were organized in October 2016. As of end-April 2018, the Academy had 2000 living Russian members (full: 888, corresponding: 1112) and 483 foreign members.
Since 2015, the Academy also awards, on a competitive basis, the honorary scientific rank of a RAS Professor to the top-level researchers with Russian citizenship. Now there are 606 scientists with this status. RAS professorship is not a membership type but its holders are considered as possible candidates for membership; so 104 professors were elected already in autumn 2016 and are now titled "RAS professor, corresponding member of the RAS".