The office of the President of the Russian Federation is the highest state position in Russia.
According to the Constitution, the President is the guarantor of the Constitution of the Russian Federation, and also of the rights and freedoms of the citizens, the Supreme Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation.
The office of the President of Russia (originally, the office of the President of the Russian Federative Socialist Republic) was founded in 1991 as the office of the head of one of the union republics of the USSR — RSFSR – based on the expression of will of the people during the Referendum on March 17th, 1991.
Over almost twenty years of democracy in Russia, the country saw three Presidents.
The first one, Boris Yeltsin, was President of Russia from 1991 to 1999, two presidential terms, and he led the effort to draft the Constitution of 1993.
Vladimir Putin who also was elected President twice – in 2000 and 2004 — became the second President of Russia.
Dmitry Medvedev became the third President and was elected to this office by popular vote on March 2nd, 2008.
In 2012, Vladimir Putin was once again elected President of the Russian Federation.
The first President of the Russian Federation was elected in 1991 for a five-year term. The Constitution of the Russian Federation as of 1993 reduced the presidential term to four years. However, under Section II (Concluding and Transitional Provisions), Article 3 of the constitution President Yeltsin remained in office until the term of office for which he was elected expired, i.e. up to 1996. In compliance with an amendment introduced into the constitution on December 31st, 2008 (Chapter 4, Article 81), starting from the 2012 Presidential Election, the President of the Russian Federation shall be elected for six years.
The President of the Russian Federation is elected for a four-year term by the citizens of the Russian Federation on the basis of general, equal and direct vote by secret ballot. A citizen of the Russian Federation not younger than 35, who has resided in the Russian Federation for no less than 10 years, may be elected President of the Russian Federation. No one person shall hold the office of the President of the Russian Federation for more than two terms in succession. The procedure for electing the President of the Russian Federation shall be determined by federal law.
At his inauguration the President of the Russian Federation shall take the following oath to the people:
The oath shall be taken in a solemn atmosphere in the presence of members of the Council of the Federation, deputies of the State Duma, and judges of the Constitutional Court of the Russian Federation.
In the course of fulfillment of his authority, the President of the Russian Federation issues decrees and executive orders, which are binding throughout the territory of the Russian Federation. The decrees and orders of the President of the Russian Federation may not contravene the Constitution of the Russian Federation or federal laws.
The Special Copy of the Constitution of the Russian Federation is an exclusive single copy of the official text of the Constitution of the Russian Federation as of 1993 in its present legally binding edition with a red Varanus skin cover. The front cover is decorated with the Coat of Arms of the Russian Federation on a silver plate and a gilded inscription, the “Constitution of the Russian Federation”. The Special Copy of the Constitution of the Russian Federation is permanently kept in the Presidential Library (rotunda of the second floor of the northeastern wing of the Kremlin Senate); it is moved from the library only when a new President of the Russian Federation is sworn into office.
The Emblem of the President of the Russian Federation is the symbol of the presidential power in Russia. It was instituted by the Decree No. 1138 of President Yeltsin of August 5th, 1996 and consists of the Emblem and the chain of the Emblem. Actually the Emblem is a symbolical copy of the Order of Service to the Fatherland 1st Class and is shaped as a golden cross with equal arms, which widen to the ends and are ruby enameled from the right side. The distance between the ends of the cross arms is 60 mm. Along the edges of the cross there is a narrow prominent welt. On the reverse side of the cross in the middle there is a round medallion with the motto “Good, Honour, and Glory” along the circle. In the centre of the medallion there is the year it was made — 1994. In the lower part of the medallion there is an image of laurel branches. The Emblem joins to its chain by a wreath of laurel branches.
The Standard of the President of Russia consists of a rectangular cloth of three equal horizontal stripes: white at the top, blue in the middle, and red at the bottom (colours of the State Flag of Russia). The gold depiction of the State Emblem of Russia is in the center. The cloth is flanked by golden fringe. The staff of the Standard carries a silver staple with the engraved family name, given name, and patronymic of the Russian President and the dates of his term in office. The staff is topped with a metal spire. The original standard is kept in the office in the presidential residence in Moscow, the capital of the Russian Federation (the Senate Palace of the Moscow Kremlin). During the official ceremony of taking office by President-elect of the Russian Federation the original standard is placed beside the head of the state.
The Standard and the Emblem are transferred to the newly elected President during the inauguration procedure for the period of his stay in office after oath bringing on the special copy of the Constitution.