A dimeric composition of the formula: wherein L', L'', L''', and L'''' are each a bidentate ligand having at least one functional substituent, the ligand selected from bipyridine, phenanthroline, 2-phenylpyridine, bipyrimidine, and bipyrazyl and the functional substituent selected from carboxylic acid, ester, amide, halogenide, anhydride, acyl ketone, alkyl ketone, acid chloride, sulfonic acid, phosphonic acid, and nitro and nitroso groups. An electrochemical oxidation process for the production of the above functionally substituted bidentate ligand diaqua oxo-bridged ruthenium dimers and their use as water oxidation catalysts is described.