The Russian parliament has passed amendments to its counter-terrorism law, allowing the president to use special military units abroad.
Lawmakers say the bill will help protect Russians abroad
Under the new law adopted by the lower house, the Duma, the president will need to notify lawmakers of any such individual operation.
Bu the unit size, location and timing could be kept secret.
The amendments also allow officials to impose tougher restrictions on media coverage of counter-terror operations.
The new bill was unanimously backed by 429 lawmakers, according to Russia's Interfax news agency.
The Russian diplomats were killed after being kidnapped in Baghdad
It gives the president the right to make the decision to use the army and special forces abroad to deal with "terrorist activities" against the Russian Federation or Russian citizens.
The amendments were adopted a week after President Vladimir Putin ordered secret agents to find and destroy the killers of four Russian diplomats in Iraq.
Russia was shocked by the deaths and called on the coalition forces occupying Iraq to provide better security for diplomatic missions working there.
Moscow also offered a $10m (£5.4m) reward for information leading to the capture of the attackers.