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The Chairman of the Government of the Russian Federation ( , colloquially referred to as ) is the second most powerful official of the Russian Federationmarker, who, under Article 24 of the Federal Constitutional Law On the Government of the Russian Federation, "heads the Government of the Russian Federation".

Nowhere in the Russian Law is he literally referred to as "head of government"; such designation nonetheless being commonly used. The use of the term "Prime Minister" is strictly informal and is not allowed for by the Russian Constitution and other laws.

Supreme executive powers are constitutionally vested in the President of Russia, who is also Russia's head of state.

Historical background

During the Imperialmarker era, the Chairman of the Russian Council of Ministers, referred to as the prime minister, was appointed by the Tsar (the Emperor); his precursor, the Chairman of the Committee of Ministers, had no separate power.

In the era of the Soviet Unionmarker, the head of government was the Chairman of Council of People's Commissars (until 1946) and the Chairman of the Council of Ministers (after 1946). People who held those positions are sometimes referred to as the prime ministers.

The current Chairman of the Government of the Russian Federation is Vladimir Putin.

Duties and competences

In general, the Prime Minister serves more of an administrative role, nominating members of the Cabinet and implementing domestic policy. In accordance with the federal constitutional law "On the Government of the Russian Federation" the Prime Minister exercises the following duties:
  • determines the operating priorities of the Government and organizes its work in accordance with the Constitution, federal constitutional laws, federal laws and Presidential decrees;
  • submits to the President proposals on the structure and functions of the central institutions of the executive branch (e.g. ministries and federal agencies);
  • nominates the vice prime ministers, federal ministers and other officers and presents them to the President;
  • submits to the President proposals on punishment and rewards of the Government members;
  • represents the Government as an institution in foreign relations and inside the country;
  • heads the sessions of the Government and its Presidium where he has the decisive vote;
  • signs the acts of the Government;
  • distributes duties among members of the Government;
  • systematically informs the President about the Government activities;

The Prime Minister is ex officio a member of:

In addition to his main duties and functions as the head of the cabinet Prime Minister Vladimir Putin chairs the following coordinating and consultative bodies at the Russian government:

  • Government commission monitoring foreign investments in Russia;
  • Council on competitiveness and enterprise in the Russian government;
  • Governmental commission on drafting budget for the next fiscal and planning period;
  • State border commission;

At the moment Prime Minister Vladimir Putin also holds the posts of:

  • First deputy chairman of the presidential council on national priority projects and demographic policy (appointed by presidential decree of 10 July 2008);
  • Chairman of the Supervisory Board of the Bank for Development and Foreign Economic Affairs (Vnesheconombank, or VEB);
  • Chairman of the Council of Ministers of the Union State of Russia and Belarus;

The incumbent Prime Minister is also a technically non-partisan leader of the United Russia party, which commands a constitutional majority in the State Duma.


The Chairman of the Government is appointed by the President of Russia, subject to the consent of the State Duma.

Under law, the President shall nominate a new Chairman of the Government within two weeks of the resignation of a previous government or inauguration ceremony of President. The State Duma is to discuss the matter within two weeks of the nomination and make a decision. Should the State Duma decide to give the President its approval, the President may immediately sign the respective appointment decree. Should the State Duma refuse to give its approval, the President will have to nominate another (or the same) candidate within one week of the rejection of the previous candidate.

Should the State Duma reject candidates nominated by the President for three times consecutively, the President shall dissolve it and call a new election, while the Prime Minister shall be appointed by the President without participation of the Duma. The State Duma may not be dissolved on these grounds during the last six months of the incumbent President's term, as well as in time of emergency, or war and in the event that the State Duma has initiated the impeachment of the incumbent President.

Other members of the Russian Government are appointed and dismissed by the President upon recommendation of the Chairman.

Removal from office

The Prime Minister may be dismissed by the President at any time at the President's own discretion. The Chairman may also tender his resignation to the President on his own initiative. The President may reject such resignation and oblige him to work further. The Prime Minister and the whole government are constitutionally obliged to resign after the inauguration of a newly-elected President. The resignation of the Prime Minister automatically means the resignation of the whole government as a body.

Under certain circumstances, the President may also theoretically be forced to dismiss the Chairman and the whole government under pressure of the State Duma. For that to happen the State Duma has to pass a censure motion against the Government twice within three months. Normally, in this case the President has the right to choose whether to sack the government or to dissolve the Duma (and if the Duma passes the censure motion just once, the President may also choose "not to agree" with the decision of the Duma, which technically means that neither the cabinet nor the Duma are dismissed).

However, within one year from parliamentary elections the dissolution of the Duma is impossible on these grounds. That is why in this case the President does not have any other option but to dismiss the Government (even if he totally supports it). However, the President is theoretically free to appoint the very same person as an acting head of the cabinet for an indefinite period of time should finding a compromise with the parliament turn to be impossible.

Succession of the presidency

In case of the President's death, resignation or impeachment, the Prime Minister becomes a temporary president until new presidential elections which must take place within three months. The Prime Minister acting as president may not dissolve the State Duma, announce a referendum or propose amendments to the Constitution.

List of Heads of Government of Russia (1905-Present)

See also


  1. Федеральный конституционный закон «О ПРАВИТЕЛЬСТВЕ РОССИЙСКОЙ ФЕДЕРАЦИИ» 17 декабря 1997.


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