||This biographical article needs additional citations for verification. (August 2010)|
Marshall was born at Nelson in 1936. His father Cedric Marshall served as Secretary of the Nelson Labour Party, then as its president, and was president of the Nelson Trades Council. Russell is the older brother of Kerry Marshall, a former mayor of the Nelson and Tasman Regions. He attended Nelson College from 1949 to 1952. He trained as a primary school teacher at Christchurch Teachers' College (1953-1954),taught in the Nelson Education Board district in 1955-1956, and at Wanganui High School in 1972. He was a Methodist minister from 1960 to 1972, serving in Spreydon and Halswell, Christchurch (1960–67) and in Masterton (1967-1971 
The Marshall brothers married Nelson sisters Barbara and Colleen Watson; Barbara Marshall is the wife of Russell Marshall.
Member of Parliament
|Parliament of New Zealand|
He represented the Wanganui electorate from 1972 to 1990, when he retired. Senior Opposition Whip in 1977-78, he was a Cabinet Minister from 1984 to 1990; Minister of Education (1984–1987), Minister of Foreign Affairs (1987–1990), Minister for the Environment (1984–1986), Minister of Conservation (1986–1987), Minister of Disarmament and Arms Control (1987–1989) and Minister of Pacific Island Affairs (1988–1990).
He chaired the New Zealand National Commission for UNESCO from 1990 to 1999, represented New Zealand as representative on the UNESCO Executive Board (1995–1999) and Permanent Delegate to UNESCO (1998–2000). He chaired the Finance and Administration Commission of the Ecxcutive Board in 1998-1999. He was a member of the Commonwealth Observer Mission to the Lesotho elections in 1993, and chaired the Commonwealth Observer Mission to the Seychelles elections later the same year. He chaired the Commonwealth Observer Mission to South Africa (COMSA)in 1994. From 1994 to 2002 he was chairman of the international education consultancy PINZ (Polytehnics International New Zealand) and Education New Zealand from 1998 to 2002. He was High Commissioner to the United Kingdom and Nigeria and Ambassador to Ireland (2002–2005). He finally completed his BA degree at the Victoria University of Wellington and graduated in 1993. In 1994 he was elected to the Council of Victoria University, becoming Pro Chancellor (1999) and Chancellor (2000–2002). In 2000-2001 he chaired the Tertiary Education Advisory Commission and was later Chairman of the Tertiary Education Commission (2005–2007). In July 2007 he was elected president of the New Zealand Institute of International Affairs, a position from which he retired in 2011. He currently chairs the Advisory Board of Gbool (recruiting students from Arabic speaking countries) and is a member of the Mana Education Centre Trust in Porirua.
- "New wind in his sails". Nelson Mail (Nelson). 20 October 2007. Retrieved 4 December 2012.
- Nelson College Old Boys' Register, 1856–2006, 6th edition
- Sherry, Marie. "Fresh slate of challenges for ex-high commissioner". The Methodist Church of New Zealand. Retrieved 23 August 2010.
- Wilson 1985, p. 218.
- Wilson 1985, p. 97.
- Wilson, James Oakley (1985) [First ed. published 1913]. New Zealand Parliamentary Record, 1840–1984 (4th ed.). Wellington: V.R. Ward, Govt. Printer. OCLC 154283103.
|Minister for the Environment
|Minister of Education
|New Zealand Parliament|
|Member of Parliament for Wanganui