Russian parliament confirms Putin as prime minister
By STEVE GUTTERMAN, Associated Press Writer 1 hour, 51
MOSCOW - Loyal lawmakers confirmed Vladimir Putin as
prime minister Thursday, capping a carefully
engineered recast of Russia's leadership a day after
he handed the presidency to his protege Dmitry
The State Duma approved Putin in an overwhelming
392-56 vote after Medvedev told lawmakers that Putin
had restored the world's respect for Russia and
improved the lives of its citizens in eight years as
Medvedev said he would sign a decree making Putin
prime minister later in the day.
Putin's unprecedented move from the Kremlin to the No.
2 post will keep him politically prominent for the
foreseeable future and could serve as a springboard
back to the presidency. It has Russians wondering who
will really hold the country's reins.
The switch comes after months of political maneuvering
by the popular Putin to maintain a role in ruling
Russia after stepping down. Barred by term limits from
running in the March presidential vote, he anointed
Medvedev as his favored successor in December and
pledged to serve as his prime minister.
Medvedev formally nominated Putin in one of his first
acts as president Wednesday. His confirmation was
never in doubt in the Duma, the lower parliament
house, where his United Russia party holds 315 of the
Presenting his nominee to a rare full house at the
Duma on Thursday, Medvedev said lawmakers' applause
"means that Vladimir Vladimirovich needs no special
recommendation" and credited his mentor with
recharging Russia's economy and raising its global
"Russia is respected once again," Medvedev said.
Medvedev suggested Putin would have a strong influence
on Russian policy for years to come. He said Putin had
been involved in setting goals for the country's
development through 2020 and "as Cabinet chairman will
play a key role in their realization."