President Carter nominated R. Robert Russell yesterday as new director of the Council on Wage and Price Stability, the president's anti-inflation agency.

Russell, an economics professor from California, would take over as acting director of the council on Saturday, the day after the present director, Barry Bosworth, leaves after two years as director.

The nomination of Russell who has been deputy council director for the past year, must be approved by the Senate.

Alfred E. Kahn, chairman of the council and the president's chief anti-inflation adviser, praised Russell as "a superb economist" with "good common sense."

Said Kahn: "He has lived with the inflation program day and night this past year, and his appointment is a tribute to the success of that program . . . in restraining our basic rate of inflation."

Carter administration sources familiar with the council hailed the selectiton. "Russell has been Bosworth's alter ego," said one official who asked to remain anonymous. "The selection insures continuity."

That continuity will be needed as the wage-price program enters its second year Oct. 1. Bosworth, with Russell's help, put the initial guidelines in place and wrote the many modifications in the first new months.

Second-year changes in the guide-lines are expected to be refinements of the first-year guideline goals. But pressures on the council could increase as businesses and unions push for higher prices and higher wages as inflation continues at rates in excess of 10 percent.

Besides developing the guidelines, the council is responsible for checking periodic reports from 1,400 corporations, reviewing new union contracts and approving exceptions to the pay and price standards.

Russell, 41, became deputy director of the council a year ago "to do something quite different from what I had been doing," That required a leave of absence from the University of California at San Diego, where he was a professor of economics.

Russell previously had announved that he would leave the council this fall to take a one-year teaching position at a Canadian university before returning to California. Council sources said he changed his mind when the council directorship was offered to him.

Bosworth wants to leave the council after a two-year stint in part "because of the time it has taken from his family," sources said.

Administration sources have indicated that Russell and Bosworth are considering a cumulative, two-year standard for the second year of the guidelines program. This would "reward" business and workers who compiled with the first year of the program.

If, for example, the council selects a compounded 15.5 percent wage increase ceiling for the two years ending Sept. 30, 1980, those workers who got 7 percent pay raises this year could get 8 percent next. Those who got more than 7 percent this year could get less than 8 percent in 1980. CAPTION: Picture, NOMINATED - The Council on Wage and Price Stability's deputy director, R. Robert Russell, is President Carter's choice to replace Barry Bosworth as director of the agency.