The Working Residence of the President of the Russian Federation at the Kremlin is in the Senate building (in the 19th century it was called the offices building, and in the 20th century it was called the USSR Council of Ministers building).
The Senate building was built in 1779-1787 by Russian architect Matvei Kazakov in the style of classicism. In 1995 the Senate palace was restored.
The residence of the Russian President in the Senate Palace consists of work and representative sections.
The work section includes the Presidentís Work and Representative offices, the offices of his close aids, the Meeting Hall of the Security Council, and the Presidential Library.
The representative section consists of halls for business and ceremonial meetings, and the suite of these halls extends from the reception of the Presidentís Representative Office along the entire main facade of the Senate Palace.
The Presidentís Work Office is in the centre of the work area of the residence.
The office is not large, and as comfortable as possible for work. The walls are decorated with oak panels. The walls are lined with bookcases containing unique books and works of reference.
In the centre of the room is the Presidentís work desk, which has a desk set made by contemporary Russian craftsmen from Ural malachite. The coat of arms of the Russian Federation hangs above the desk. On the left and right of the desk respectively are the Flag of the Russian Federation and the Presidential Standard. Closer to the window there is another desk for talks, business meetings and consultations with close presidential aids.
The Presidentís Library is located in the rotunda of the third floor in the northeast section of the Senate building. The rotunda has a light dome-shaped roof and a system of four arches which divide it.
The interior, which was restored by contemporary experts, echoes the best traditions of palace libraries built two centuries ago in Moscow and St. Petersburg. It has peaceful, dark brown tones. The decoration and colour scheme of the library create a strict working atmosphere, while the combination of architectural methods of classicism and carefully thought-out furnishings create the appearance of a single artistic ensemble that harmonises with maximum effect with the ceremonial setting of the entire Kremlin Presidential residence. Along the walls of the first and mezzanine floor of the library are brown wooden cupboards with glass fronts. There is a large round table in the centre of the libraryís main hall.
The facilities in the reading hall match the most modern requirements of library and information complexes. The library is equipped for making modern information searches, and is actively used by the President and the employees of his Administration in their work. Thus, the Presidentís library primarily contains books necessary for daily work: encyclopaedias, reference books, and legal, bibliographic and historical works.
Books with dedicatory inscriptions to the Russian President form a separate part of the library collection. This is where presents received by the President are kept.
A specially printed unique edition of the Russian Constitution is kept in the library as a particularly valuable exhibit. The President swears an oath on this book when he is appointed.
Occasionally, meetings, talks and presentations are held in the Presidential Library.
The hall for meetings that the President holds with the Government and the Security Council is located in the work zone of the Senate Palace.
The walls are decorated with a hand-woven tapestry featuring symbols of the Russian state. The formative artistic element of the hallís decor is the austere and ceremonial half-columns of dark grey marble decorated with gilded caps.
In the middle of the hall is a long table for meetings.
The Heraldic (Ambassadorial) Hall opens the suite of representative halls of the Senate Palace. The Russian coat of arms predominates in the decorations (hence the name Heraldic Hall). The other name of the hall, the Ambassadorial Hall, reflects its use Ė for the President to receive the ambassadors of foreign nations.
The main motif in the design of the Heraldic Hall Ė the Russian heraldic eagle Ė is present in the walls, the reliefs, in the niches above the doors, and in the bronze chandelier. The walls are covered in corduroy fabric, to which heraldic eagles are attached by gold threads. The ceiling of the Ambassadorial Hall is decorated by a flowery pattern. The cornices of the walls are designed in the form of gilded canopies and a false gallery. The doors are decorated with gilt and wonderfully harmonise with the overall classical style of the building.
The Representative (Ceremonial) Office is in the Small Hall, or as architect Matvei Kazakov called it, the Oval hall of the Senate Palace. Here the Russian President holds talks and meetings with the heads of foreign nations.
The Representative Office is more elegant than the other work spaces in the building. At the same time, the hall stands out for its simplicity. Its architectural design gives the hall a peaceful solemnity: the pale green and white walls, the unusual oval form of the dome, the crystal chandeliers, and the parquet flooring made of dozens of types of valuable wood, like a rug.
Next to the desk are the symbols of the Russian state and attributes of Presidential power: the coat of arms and Flag of Russia, and the Presidentís Standard. On the walls are portraits of Russian state figures and military leaders who have brought much glory to Russia. By the fireplace are chairs for one-on-one talks. In the fireplace mirror, the entire suite of halls is reflected, which follow straight after the Representative Office.
The Catherine Hall is the main hall of the Senate Palace of the Kremlin. With a colour scheme of pale blue and gold, and a classical circular form, the hall impresses with its grandeur and elegance of decoration.
Along the walls, there is a colonnade of the Dorian order. Above the colonnade cornice is a light balcony. On the frieze are gilded two-headed eagles. Two arches decorated with caissons are symmetrically opposite each other. Three rows of windows fill the hall with light, including the upper row above the balcony. From below it seems that the windows in the upper row form a wreath which rests on a kind of parapet.
The Catherine Hall is remarkable not just for its classical form and design, but also for its unusual, light and harmonic domical design. It is given depth and lightness by the caissons that get smaller higher up, giving the impression of an endlessly blue firmament. Light, airy and pale blue on the inside, the dome of the Catherine Hall seems to hover in the air because of the numerous windows at its base.
18 modelled reliefs make a striking sculptural decoration in the hall. They are in the middle row of the rotunda between the columns. In symbolic form, the reliefs show Catherine the Great actions as head of state, famous for their lawfulness, justice and enlightenment. Slightly below the reliefs, over the arcs of the doorways, and also in the spans between the windows and the doors, there are decorative cartouches with coats of arms of the Moscow province. The cartouches are joined together by an elegant ornament.
High above, at the base of the dome, in the spaces between the windows of the third row, there are 48 medallions. They have full depictions of great princes and Russian rulers, and are copies of the reliefs of the Russian sculptor and portrait artist Fedot Shubin (the originals hang in the Armoury Chamber of the Moscow Kremlin). The Catherine hall is not just decorated by the reliefs and panels of Kazakovís time, but also by modern sculptures Ė the allegorical figures ďRussiaĒ and ďJusticeĒ by sculptor Anatoly Bichukov.
The incrusted parquet floor reproduces drawings from ancient stone mosaics. It as if it reflects the firmament of the caisson dome, creating a harmonic enclosed space.
The hall has modern equipment and sliding furniture that is comfortable and functional, making it possible to change the arrangement in mere minutes.
In the Catherine Hall official and ceremonial events are held with the participation of the President, such as state awards ceremonies.