The office of the president of Russia is the highest authority in the Russian Federation. The holder is the federation's head of state and has formal presidency over the State Council as well as being the commander in chief of the Russian Armed Forces. The office was introduced in 1918 after the February Revolution with the current office emerging after a referendum of 1991.[1] During the Soviet period of history, Russia was de jure headed by collective bodies such as the All-Russian Central Executive Committee and the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet, since the Soviet theory of government denied the very necessity of the presidential office. The office of the President of the Soviet Union was introduced in 1990 during Mikhail Gorbachev's unsuccessful reforms of the Soviet Union's one-party communist state. Gorbachev became first and last president of the Union.[2] His tenure was marked by the legal and political confrontation with Russia and other republics of the USSR which eventually led to their full independence in late 1991.


Main article: President of Russia

     Nonpartisan         CPSU         NDR         OVR         Unity         United Russia         Acting PMs
Portrait President Term of office Term Previous office Prime Minister
Boris Yeltsin
Борис Ельцин
(age 76 at death)
10 July 199131 December 1999
(resigned from office)
(8 years, 174 days)
[note 1]
Chairman of the Supreme Soviet of Russia
Ivan Silayev
Yegor Gaidar
Viktor Chernomyrdin
Sergei Kiriyenko
Viktor Chernomyrdin
Yevgeny Primakov
Sergei Stepashin
Vladimir Putin
2 Vladimir Putin
Владимир Путин
Born 1952
(age 71)
7 May 20007 May 2008
(acting from 31 December 1999)
(8 years, 128 days)
Prime Minister of Russia
Mikhail Kasyanov[note 2]
Mikhail Fradkov
Viktor Zubkov
Dmitry Medvedev
Дмитрий Медведев
Born 1965
(age 58)
7 May 20087 May 2012
(4 years, 0 days)
First Deputy Prime Minister of Russia
Vladimir Putin
Vladimir Putin
Владимир Путин
Born 1952
(age 71)
7 May 2012 – present
(12 years, 16 days)
Prime Minister of Russia
Viktor Zubkov
Dmitry Medvedev
Mikhail Mishustin

Acting presidents

Main article: Acting President of Russia

See also: President of the Soviet Union § Acting President

     Nonpartisan      NDR      Unity

Portrait Acting President Term of office Main post Notes
Alexander Rutskoy
Александр Руцкой
Born 1947
(age 76)
22 September – 4 October 1993 Vice President Acting president during the 1993 constitutional crisis.
His powers were not recognized by Boris Yeltsin.
Viktor Chernomyrdin
Виктор Черномырдин
(aged 72)
5–6 November 1996 Prime Minister Acting president during Boris Yeltsin's heart surgery.
Vladimir Putin
Владимир Путин
Born 1952
(age 71)
31 December 1999 – 7 May 2000 Acting president after Yeltsin's early resignation.


Dmitry MedvedevVladimir PutinViktor ChernomyrdinAlexander RutskoyBoris Yeltsin

Graph of change of life expectancy in the Russian SFSR and Russia under various leaders

Subsequent public service

Two presidents held other high offices after leaving the presidency.

President Presidency Subsequent service
Vladimir Putin 2000–2008 Prime Minister (2008–2012)
President (2012–present)
Dmitry Medvedev 2008–2012 Prime Minister (2012–2020)
Deputy Chairman of the Security Council (2020–present)

See also


  1. ^ Elected as President of the Russian SFSR shortly before the collapse of the Soviet Union. Continued to serve his first term until 1996 despite adopting a new constitution after a military conflict with the parliament in 1993.
  2. ^ Acting Prime Minister until 17 May 2000.


  1. ^ Aluf, I. A. (1979). February Bourgeois Democratic Revolution of 1917 (3rd ed.). The Gale Group, Inc. ((cite book)): |work= ignored (help)
  2. ^ "End of the Soviet Union: Text of Gorbachev's Farewell Address". The New York Times. 26 December 1991. Retrieved 27 December 2019.