Many countries have protocols in place which determine who the successor to the leadership of that country will be in the event that one or more of the leaders or their successors die.

What is Russia's chain of succession? My research indicates that if the President is removed, the prime minister succeeds him, but what if the prime minister is also removed? How is the chain of succession determined?

At what point of simultaneous removal of political office holders or those appointed by them does the chain of succession become unclear even to the Russians? Who is likely to be in charge at that point?


To make this more clear, I'm talking about a potential assassination and/or terrorist action that more-or-less simultaneously removes the President and a variable number of his successors. I'm interested in knowing who could take immediate, emergency, leadership of the nation and have the power to act to resolve the state of emergency. Don't tell me that there wouldn't be a state of emergency if the President and a lot of his successors were killed.

Restoring the day-to-day government is beyond the scope of this question.

  • I'd have added the tag [emergency-powers], except I don't have the rep here yet.
    – Monty Wild
    Commented Jun 26, 2017 at 21:58

3 Answers 3


It's unclear, but an election must be called out within 3 months to elect a new President. Since it's unlikely to occur, there would likely be a designated successor should this occur.

According to Chapter 4 of the Russian Constitution, the Prime Minister will become Acting President though his powers will be limited. An election must be held not later than 3 months.

The powers of the President of the Russian Federation shall be terminated in the event of his resignation or sustained inability due to health to discharge his powers or in the event of impeachment. In such cases new elections of the President of the Russian Federation shall be held not later than three months after the early termination of the President's powers.

In all cases when the President of the Russian Federation shall be unable to perform his duties such duties shall be temporarily performed by the chairman of the Government of the Russian Federation. The acting president of the Russian Federation shall have no right to dissolve the State Duma, call a referendum or make proposals on amendment or revision of the provisions of the Constitution of the Russian Federation.

(emphasis mine)

  • I'm more interested in who could exercise immediate emergency powers in the event of the assassination of the President and a number of his immediate successors, and at what point it becomes unclear who the President's successor is.
    – Monty Wild
    Commented Jun 26, 2017 at 21:57
  • > It's unclear, but an election must be called out within 3 months to elect a new President. Since it's unlikely to occur, there would likely be a designated successor should this occur. — id had already occured once in the end of 1999: president Yeltsin resigned during traditional new year congratulation translation and Putin, PM at a time became Acting President until emergency elections of 2000 made him President.
    – user28434
    Commented Jul 3, 2017 at 13:08

According the constitution, the first successor is the prime minister.

The constitution does not specify further successors, but logically it should be the deputy of prime minister (vice-premier). There are several such deputies (one first vice-premier and 8 ordinary vice-premiers) and there should a written internal instruction by the premier on who of them should replace the premier and in what order in case he is absent.


The Prime Minister is next in line. Following them is the Chairman of the Federation. If both of these offices are left vacant, I do not know of any official protocol.

If there is indeed no further specified line of succession, I have a guess as to how the office of president might be theoretically filled in a scenario where both of those offices were left vacant. The Federation Council would hold a vote to appoint a new Chairman of the Federation, and the individual appointed to that office would then automatically ascend to the office of Acting President.

Why I believe the scenario I proposed makes sense is that Chairman of the Federation is an office that can be appointed in absence of a president, while the appointment of a Prime Minister requires the participation of an incumbent President.

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