Decree of the President of Russia

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search

An Ukase of the President of the Russian Federation (Russian: Указ Президента Российской Федерации) or Executive Order (Decree) of the President of Russia[1][2] is a legal act (ukase) with the status of a by-law made by the Russian president.

According to the Constitution of Russia, the President of Russia may issue decrees (Ukases, Russian: Указ or Rasparyazhenya, Russian: Pаспоряжения) which are legally binding acts and have the force of law. The decrees have supreme legal force after the Russian Constitution and laws.[3] As normative legal acts, such ukazes have the status of by-laws in the hierarchy of legal acts (along with Decrees of the Government of the Russian Federation and instructions and directions of other officials). Presidential decrees may not alter existing laws of higher precedence - Russia's international agreements, the Constitution of Russia, Federal Constitutional Laws, Federal Laws, and laws of Russian regions - and may be superseded by any of these laws. For example, thanks to Article 15 of the Constitution of Russia, the European Convention on Human Rights, as an international document, has higher status than any Russian law or presidential executive order.[4]


The annual number of decrees exceeded 1,000 throughout the post-communist period. Even before the institutional frameworks enacted by the 1993 Constitution of Russia, which awarded the president very considerable decree powers, came into place, President Boris Yeltsin actively started to use this policy instrument to consolidate the powers of his newly created office and to implement policies for which he lacked both legislative and broad societal support.[5]

Types of decrees[edit]

Acts of the President of a normative character take effect across the whole territory of the Russian Federation seven days after the date of first publication. Other acts of the President, including acts containing state secrets or confidential information, take effect from the date of signing.

The policy-related decrees include decrees with broad normative or regulatory scope and decrees with a much narrower scope.[6] Another type of decree regards appointments. Appointments are an indirect but often very effective way for the President to influence policies. The President issues decrees to appoint cabinet ministers, heads of the various central government agencies, top civil servants, military and security apparatus leaders, the top management of some state-owned industries, judges, diplomats, and the country's representatives to international organizations. The President may also make a number of appointments at the regional level. The Russian constitution does not specify rules regarding deputy ministerial appointments. The fact that the President may choose to interpret them differently is primarily a function of his political strength.[7]


  1. ^ The English term "Executive Order" is also used by official website as equivalent of Russian ukaz. See in Russian or in English
  2. ^ For example:
  3. ^ Конституции России // Глава 4. Президент Российской Федерации.
  4. ^ "Universally recognized principles and norms of international law as well as international agreements of the Russian Federation should be an integral part of its legal system. If an international agreement of the Russian Federation establishes rules, which differ from those stipulated by law, then the rules of the international agreement shall be applied."
  5. ^ Parrish, ‘Presidential Decree Authority …’; Huskey, Presidential Power in Russia; Paul Kubicek, ‘Delegative Democracy in Russia and Ukraine’, Communist and Post-Communist Studies, 27, 4, 1994, pp. 423–439.
  6. ^ Scott Parrish, ‘Presidential Decree Authority in Russia, 1991–1995’
  7. ^ William Mishler, John P. Willerton & Gordon B. Smith, "Hegemony or Rivalry? Laws, Decrees and the Dynamics of Legislative–Executive Relations in the Russian Federation"

External links[edit]