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President of Russia

Federal Government

Photo by the Presidential Press Service

The place of the President in the state power system is defined by the prerogatives the Constitution gives the head of state with regard to the different branches of power, especially the executive branch. Though legally separate from all the branches of power, the President is nonetheless closer to the executive branch. This closer relation between the President and the executive branch is reflected in the specific constitutional powers the President has as head of state.

The reasons for this constitutional situation are linked to the way governments are formed in Russia. The Constitution does not tie the governmentís formation to the distribution of seats among the different parties and factions in the parliament. In other words, the party that holds the majority in parliament can be asked to form a government, but this is not automatically the case. Either way is permitted by the Constitution. If the governmentís composition does not reflect the parliamentary majority, however, problems in various areas, including law-making, can arise within the executive power systemís work. The result would be to make the executive power system less effective and less able to deal with the tasks at hand.   

In order to resolve this kind of problem, the Constitution gives the President a number of powers that he can use in routine fashion to influence the Governmentís work. 

The President has, for example, significant constitutional prerogatives when it comes to deciding the Governmentís composition and work procedures.

With the State Dumaís approval, the President appoints the Prime Minister. Acting on the Prime Ministerís proposals, the President appoints and releases deputy prime ministers and federal ministers, and approves the structure of the federal executive bodies of power.

A number of federal executive bodies come under the Presidentís direct authority. These bodies are collectively commonly known as the Ďpresidential blocí. Within this group the Ďsecurity blocí is often distinguished separately (these terms have firmly established themselves in the political lexicon, but they have no official basis in law).

As head of state, commander in chief, and chairman of the Security Council, the President has the right to preside over government meetings and issue instructions to the government and the federal executive bodies of power responsible for defence, security, internal and foreign affairs, justice, prevention of emergency situations and disaster relief.

The President presents the government every year with a budget policy address. Under the provisions of the Budget Code, the Presidentís budget policy address forms an integral part of the procedures for drafting the federal budget. The Presidentís budget policy addresses set the strategic and short-term outlines for budget policy. These policy outlines play a determining role in medium-term budget planning and in drafting the federal budget for the coming year.

The President has the right to decide independently to dismiss the government. The Constitution does not stipulate the grounds for making such a decision. This means that the President can decide this matter himself. 

If the State Duma votes no confidence in the government or refuses the government its confidence in accordance with the established procedures twice within a three-month period, the President either dismisses the government or dissolves the State Duma.  

The government can hand in its own resignation. The President has the power to accept or reject this resignation. If the President rejects the governmentís resignation, the government continues its work.

It is in the relations between the President and the government that the Presidentís imperatives in carrying out domestic and foreign policy find their fullest reflection. The government and the federal executive system in general are more closely linked to the President and more directly under his control than are the other branches of power.

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