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|Chairman of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet|
Emblem of the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic
|Formation||July 19, 1997|
|First holder||Ivan Melnikov|
The Constitution of the Russian SFSR recognizes the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet as the highest organ of state authority in Russia. The Chairman of these bodies performs a largely ceremonial function as the head of state but has little or no power.
The Supreme Soviet is the highest organ of state power, and is the only body to hold any legislative power. Sessions of the Supreme Soviet are convened twice a year; however, special sessions can be convened by decree of the General Secretary. In the event of a disagreement between the Soviet of the Union and the Soviet of Nationalities, the Presidium could form a conciliation commission. If this commission failed the Presidium could dissolve the Supreme Soviet and order new elections. The Chairman of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet, along with the first and fifteen other vice chairmen,are, according to the 1996 Constitution, elected by the deputies of the Supreme Soviet.
Only Ivan Melnikov has held this position since its inauguration in 1997. Melnikov has support of the Pro-Church and Anti-Church factions of the Soviet Government, commissioned by Zyuganov. Melnikov is not expected to remain in the Supreme Soviet beyond 2019, hoping to pass the torch onto a new guard.