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Medvedev: Putin should be prime minister

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  • Greg Cannon
    http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20071211/ap_on_re_eu/russia_putin Medvedev: Putin should be prime minister By MIKE ECKEL, Associated Press Writer 1 hour, 58 minutes
    Message 1 of 1 , Dec 11, 2007
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      Medvedev: Putin should be prime minister

      By MIKE ECKEL, Associated Press Writer 1 hour, 58
      minutes ago

      MOSCOW - Dmitry Medvedev, the hand-picked candidate to
      succeed President Vladimir Putin, called Tuesday for
      Putin become prime minister after the March 2

      Putin is prohibited by law for running for a third
      consecutive term, but clearly wants to retain a
      powerful role once he steps down. Medvedev's proposal
      would provide such a role, especially if the
      constitution were amended to increase the prime
      minister's powers — which could be done readily with
      the new parliament dominated by pro-Putin politicians.

      Medvedev, 42, has spent most of his career as a loyal
      comrade of Putin, and his proposal for him to become
      prime minister almost certainly was made with prior
      consultation with the president.

      "Having expressed my readiness to run for president of
      Russia, I appeal to (Putin) with a request to give his
      principal agreement to head the Russian government
      after the election of the new president of our
      country," Medvedev said in televised address a day
      after Putin endorsed his candidacy.

      Putin's support for Medvedev virtually ensures that he
      would win the election.

      Medvedev also said that after the election, Russia
      must continue to pursue the policies driven by Putin
      in the past eight years.

      Medvedev's support for Putin's policies and his
      proposal that he become prime minister were sure to
      raise questions of whether he would be a genuinely
      independent president or essentially a figurehead,
      doing Putin's bidding.

      Medvedev, who projects a milder and more sympathetic
      image than the steely and often sardonic Putin,
      nonetheless echoed the prickly national pride and
      distrust of the West that characterize Putin's public

      "The world's attitudes toward Russia has been changed.
      They don't lecture us like schoolchildren. They
      respect us and they reckon with us. Russia has been
      returned to its overwhelming position in the world
      community," Medvedev said in a three-minute statement
      broadcast on state television.

      He also praised efforts under Putin to restore the
      country's armed forces after years of post-Soviet
      neglect and underfunding, saying "Our military defense
      and security have been increased."

      Despite the assertion of surging military might,
      Medvedev is not considered a Kremlin hard-liner, in
      contrast with the others who had vied for Putin's
      endorsement, chiefly fellow First Deputy Prime
      Minister Sergei Ivanov.

      Both Medvedev and Putin worked under St. Petersburg's
      reformist Mayor Anatoly Sobchak in the early 1990s.
      After Putin became prime minister in 1999, he brought
      Medvedev to Moscow to become deputy chief of staff of
      the Cabinet. He then moved up to become deputy chief
      of staff for the president, was appointed to head the
      board of state natural gas giant Gazprom in 2002 and
      became full presidential chief of staff in 2003.

      In 2005, Putin named him a first deputy prime


      Associated Press Writer Jim Heintz contributed to this report.
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