Status and Powers of the Russian Prime Minister
The Russian Constitution states that executive power in the country is exercised by the Government.
According to the federal constitutional law "On the Government of the Russian Federation," dated December 17, 1997, the Prime Minister is appointed by the President of the Russian Federation from among citizens of Russia who do not also hold a citizenship of a foreign country in accordance with the procedure stipulated in the Constitution.
The Prime Minister chairs the Government, determines the operating priorities of the Government and organizes its operation in accordance with the Constitution, federal constitutional laws, federal laws and Presidential decrees.
The Prime Minister:
• Represents the Russian government in Russia and abroad;
• Determines the operating priorities of the Government and organizes its work in accordance with the Constitution, federal constitutional laws, federal laws and Presidential decrees;
• Chairs meetings of the Government, where he has the decisive vote;
• Signs the acts of the Russian Government;
• Submits to the President proposals on the structure of the federal bodies of executive authority, appointment and dismissal of his deputies and federal ministers, and their punishment and rewards;
• Distributes duties among government members.
The Prime Minister regularly informs the President about the work of the Government.
The Prime Minister takes over the duties of the President when the latter is unable to fulfill them. Acting President may not dissolve the State Duma (lower house of parliament), appoint referendums, or submit proposals on amendments to and revision of the Constitution.
The Prime Minister is a member of:
• The Council of the Heads of Government of the Commonwealth of Independent States
The Council of the CIS Heads of Government is the charter agency of the CIS coordinating economic, social and other cooperation among bodies of executive authority of the member states.
The Council of the CIS Heads of Government shall supervise:
1. Implementation of instructions of the Council of the Heads of States to the Council of the Heads of Government;
2. Implementation of the clauses of the Treaty on the Establishment of the Economic Union and operation of the free trade zone;
3. Adoption of common programmes for the development of the industries, agriculture and other economic sectors, as well as allocations to them;
4. Development of transportation, communications, and energy systems;
5. Cooperation in the tariff, credit and finance, and tax policies;
6. Development of mechanisms aimed at forming a common research and technological space;
7. Establishment of the CIS bodies within its competence;
8. Appointment (approval) of the heads of the CIS bodies within its competence;
9. Financing the operation of the CIS bodies;
10. Social cooperation;
11. Control over the operation of the CIS bodies;
12. Delegation of its powers to the Council of Foreign Ministers and the Economic Council of the CIS, with the exception of the powers delegated to it by the Council of the CIS Heads of State.
The Council of the CIS Heads of Government shall convene semiannually, with extraordinary meetings held at the initiative of the government of a member state.
• The Supreme State Council of the Union State of Russia and Belarus
The Supreme State Council is the supreme body of authority of the Union State. It consists of the heads of state and government and speakers of the Russian and Belarusian parliaments. Its meetings are also attended by the Chairman of the Council of Ministers of the Union State, speakers of the houses of the Union State's parliament, and Chairman of the Court of the Union State.
The main functions of the Supreme State Council are:
1. Determine the development priorities of the Union State;
2. Form the bodies of the Union State within its competence, including sectoral and functional bodies of governance;
3. Appoint elections to the House of Representatives of the Union State's Parliament;
4. Approve the budget of the Union State adopted by its parliament and annual reports on its fulfillment;
5. Approve international treaties of the Union State ratified by its parliament;
6. Approve the state symbols of the Union State;
7. Choose the location for the bodies of the Union State;
8. Hear annual reports by the Prime Minister of the Union State on the implementation of approved decisions.
The Supreme State Council also fulfills other functions as stipulated by the Union State Treaty or delegated to it by the member states. The Supreme State Council, acting within its competence, issues decrees, resolutions and directives. The acts of the Supreme State Council shall be approved unanimously by the member states. An act shall not be considered approved if one of the member states has voted against it. Voting at the meetings of the Supreme State Council shall be supervised by the head of state or an authorized person.
• The Council of the Heads of Government of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation
The Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) is a regional organisation comprising Russia, China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan. It was set up in accordance with the agreement on military confidence building on the border (1996) and the agreement on the mutual reduction of armed forces on the border (1997) signed by Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia and Tajikistan with China.
The declaration on the establishment of the SCO was signed at the summit of the six states in Shanghai on June 15, 2001. At their summit in St Petersburg on June 7, 2002, they adopted the SCO Charter, which came into force on September 19, 2003 as the organisation's basic document on its goals, principles, structure and main spheres of operation.
The SCO Council of the Heads of Government (prime ministers) approves the organisation's budget, considers key issues of practical importance (primarily economic ones) for developing cooperation among the SCO member states.
• The Interstate Council of the Eurasian Economic Community (EurAsEC)
The Eurasian Economic Community (EurAsEC) is a regional economic organisation of Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan, with the powers to form common external customs borders of the member states, draft a common foreign economic policy, tariffs, prices, and other component parts of a common market.
The agreement on the establishment of the Eurasian Economic Community (EurAsEC) was signed on October 10, 2000 in Astana, capital of Kazakhstan, by five presidents - Alexander Lukashenko (Belarus), Nursultan Nazarbayev (Kazakhstan), Askar Akayev (Kyrgyzstan), Vladimir Putin (Russia), and Emomali Rahmonov (Tajikistan).
The Interstate Council, the supreme body of EurAsEC, comprises the heads of state and government of the member states.
It considers issues of fundamental importance for the organisation bearing on the common interests of the member states, determines the development strategy, direction and vistas, and makes decisions to implement the tasks and attain the goals of the organisation.
The Interstate Council convenes at the level of the heads of state at least once a year, and at the level of the heads of governments, at least twice a year.
In addition to his main duties and functions of the Russian Prime Minister as stipulated in the federal constitutional law "On the Government of the Russian Federation," 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.
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.