Prime Minister of Russia
The Chairman of the Government of the Russian Federation, colloquially referred to as the Prime Minister, is the head of the Russian government and the second most powerful figure of the Russian Federation. The official residence of the prime minister is Gorki-9 in Odintsovsky District, Moscow Oblast, but his/her working residence is in Moscow. Under Article 24 of the Federal Constitutional Law 'On the Government of the Russian Federation', the prime minister "heads the Government of the Russian Federation". The Russian Prime Minister is considered the second highest position in the government, after the President.
Due to the central role of the President of Russia in the political system, the activities of the executive branch are significantly influenced by the head of state. The use of the term "Prime Minister" is strictly informal and is never used by the Russian Constitution or laws.
Historical background empire
Early Russian Prime MinistersUntil 1905, the head of government was the Emperor. In the absence of the Emperor, the Ministers one by one, starting with the oldest in the rank, each for 4 sessions.
In 1810, the chairmanship was granted to the state Chancellor count Nikolay Rumyantsev, the former then Chairman of the State Council. Since 1812, as Chairman of the Committee has evolved into an independent position, which until 1865 necessarily coincide with the presidency of the Council of State.
Traditionally, the chairmanship of the Committee was last in the public service honorary position appointed by the dignitaries that have become too old to execution of the duties of the Minister. A number of Committee chairmen was characterized by contemporaries as "barely alive", "miserable". Count Modest Korf jokingly wrote about count Chernyshov: "Look, just live!" Duke Pavel Gagarin died in office at the age of 83 years.
1905–1917The modern post of Prime Minister appeared in 1905. By the decree of Emperor Nicholas II on the 19 October 1905 was established the government — the Council of Ministers bringing together the Ministers in one Cabinet. The Chairman of the Council of Ministers officially became a full-fledged head of government. The first Prime Minister was appointed count Sergei Witte.
Since 1905, the Prime Minister received extensive powers, had the opportunity to pursue their own policies and reforms. So one of the strongest Prime Ministers is considered Pyotr Stolypin, who during his Premiership has held several major reforms.
Despite the presence of the State Duma, the Government was not responsible to Parliament. Although Sergei Witte and Pyotr Stolypin at the beginning of his Premiership, tried to form a coalition government of the largest political organizations, they did not succeed. State Duma nevertheless tried to gain influence on the government, particularly the conflict of the state Duma and the government were evident during the Premiership of Ivan Goremykin.
The position of Chairman of the Council of Ministers of the Russian Empire, lasted 12 years, during this time, 7 people took this post. The position was abolished after the Russian revolution, the abdication of Nicholas II from the throne and the formation of the Provisional government.
Provisional GovernmentDuring the Russian Provisional Government, the Prime Minister de facto headed the Russian state and was officially called the “Minister-Chairman of the Russian Provisional Government". This position was held by only two people, Georgy Lvov and Alexander Kerensky.
The position lasted about six months, and after the October Revolution, was replaced by Chairman of the Council of People's Commissars of the Russian SFSR.
Soviet periodDuring the reign of Vladimir Lenin, the Chairman of the Council of People's Commissars was the de facto leader of the RSFSR.
In 1946, the post of head of government was renamed Chairman of the Council of Ministers. People who held those positions are sometimes referred to as the prime ministers. They may have also been referred to as Premier of Ministers, or simply premier.
Post-Soviet periodCurrently, the formal title of the Prime Minister is "Chairman of the Government of the Russian Federation".
In modern Russia, the Prime Minister is appointed by the President, with the consent of the State Duma. The Prime Minister is responsible to the President and regularly reports to him, however to the State Duma he reports only once a year.
After the election of Boris Yeltsin, President of Russia, the head of the government was Yeltsin personally. He headed the Russian SFSR Government for about six months. In fact, Yeltsin was the first Head of Government of Russia after the dissolution of the Soviet Union, however he was not the Prime Minister. After Yeltsin, Yegor Gaidar became Acting Prime Minister, but the Russian Supreme Soviet refused to approve him as Prime Minister. On 14 December 1992, the Prime Minister appointed was Viktor Chernomyrdin.
The Russian political system is similar to the modern French system. For the appointment of the Prime Minister the President needs a majority in the state Duma. If the party President does not have the majority and fails to form a coalition, the President may need to appoint a loyalist to the position of Prime Minister. For example this occurred in 1998 when the state Duma twice refused to appoint Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin and Boris Yeltsin appointed Prime Minister Yevgeny Primakov, who supported the left opposition.
In the mid-90s in Russia there was a term "Technical Prime Minister". This term refers to the Prime Minister, who is not an independent political figure, is only the nominal head of government, and in fact the activities of the government are headed by the President.
Duties and competencesIn general, the Prime Minister serves more of an administrative role, nominating members of the Cabinet and taking the lead in fully implementing domestic and foreign policy as formulated by the President. 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, aside from running the day-to-day affairs of the government, in general.
- submits to the President proposals on the structure and functions of the central institutions of the executive branch ;
- 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;
- report annually to the State Duma about the Government activities;
- distributes duties among members of the Government;
- systematically informs the President about the Government activities;
- The Security Council of the Russian Federation;
- The Council of the Heads of Government of the Commonwealth of Independent States;
- The Supreme State Council of the Union State of Russia and Belarus;
- The Council of the Heads of Government of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization;
- The Interstate Council of the Eurasian Economic Community ;
In Soviet times, Prime Minister of the Russian SFSR was appointed by the Supreme Council after each election.
Currently Prime Minister is appointed by the President of Russia, subject to the consent of the State Duma. Unlike most other "Prime Ministers", who are also elected members of the legislative body or parliament, the Chairman of the Government of Russia can be any Russian citizen, as long as they do not also hold citizenship of another country.
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. The procedure of granting consent by the parliament is usually preceded by several days of comprehensive consultations and interviews of the candidate by the parliamentary factions. 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 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 first year after parliamentary elections, 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 Prime Minister.
Results of confirmations voting
Removal from officeThe Prime Minister may be dismissed by the President at any time at the President's discretion. The Prime Minister may also tender his resignation to the President on his own initiative. The President may reject such resignation and oblige him to continue working. 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 the 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.
However, within one year after 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. 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 out to be impossible.
Term of officeInitially, the term of office of the Prime Minister was not formally established. The head of the government served in his post for as long as the Emperor thought necessary.
In Soviet times, the term of the Prime Minister was also unlimited. The Chairman Council of Ministers of the Russian SFSR served in the position until he was dismissed by the General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union.
A term limit was introduced after the creation of the post of the President of Russia. Government became subordinate to the President, so the Prime Minister must resign along with the President, but may be appointed again. From 1991 to 1996, the maximum term of office of the Prime Minister was 5 years. After the new Constitution of Russia was created, the term of office of the President, and therefore the term of office of the Prime Minister, was shortened to 4 years. In 2012, after amendments to the Constitution the term of the President and Prime Minister was increased to 6 years.
Acting Prime Minister
Temporary absenceThe Federal constitutional law "On the Government of the Russian Federation" says "in the case of temporary absence of the Chairman of the Government of the Russian Federation, his duties are performed by one of the Deputy Chairmen of the Government of the Russian Federation in accordance with a written distribution of responsibilities". It's automatically and President's Executive Order is not required in that moment. The Federal constitutional law "On the Government of the Russian Federation" does not limit the term of "temporary absence" of the Prime Minister and the term of work of the acting Prime Minister.
There can be more than one First Deputy Prime Minister of Russia, therefore written distribution of responsibilities is the most important document. The office of First Vice-Premier is not provisioned by Constitution and it is not separate office. The Chapter 6 of the Constitution of Russia says, that "The Government of the Russian Federation consists of the Chairman of the Government of the Russian Federation, Deputy Chairman of the Government of the Russian Federation and federal ministries".
When the whole of government resignedThe Prime Minister can leave his post at his own request or if it is impossible for him to exercise his powers. The Federal constitutional law "On the Government of the Russian Federation" says that the dismissal of the Prime Minister entails the resignation of the entire government. If the Prime Minister resigns, the President has the right to delegate his duties to one of his Vice-premiers. This situation cannot continue for more than two months — this period is reserved for the head of state to select a candidate for a new Prime Minister and submit it to The state Duma.
Very often, the acting Prime Minister later proposed the State Duma as the new Prime Minister.
Succession of the presidencyIn 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 as Acting President may not dissolve the State Duma, announce a referendum or propose amendments to the Constitution.
The Chairman of the Federation Council is the third important position after the President and the Prime Minister. In the case of incapacity of the President and Prime Minister, the chairman of the upper house of parliament becomes acting head of state.