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3 Aug, 2010 08:55

Putin-Medvedev tandem to become a troika?

Dmitry Medvedev has said he does not know who may be running for the presidency in 2012. Although he mentioned that possibly he or Putin may run, the current president also hinted at an as of yet unknown third party.

However, Medvedev said he would not want to see a struggle for the top state’s job within the leadership.“I do not know who it will be in 2012 and who will be running [for the presidency],” Medvedev told reporters. “It might be Medvedev, it might be Putin, and it might be someone else.” In any case, he went on, it is something that must be thought about.“The country should have an opportunity to develop stably; it should live under a predictable scenario,” Medvedev said, cites RIA Novosti. “Putin thought about it, I am thinking about it, and so should my successor.”It has been the first time that Medvedev has mentioned that someone completely different may come to power in 2012. Earlier he did rule out that he would compete with Vladimir Putin – the former president and at present the premier – at the next presidential election. His stance remains the same: “I do not want to see a power struggle; it would be bad for Russia.”

According to political analyst Dmitry Babich, Putin and Medvedev are unlikely to face serious competition from any third party. However, Dmitry Medvedev’s words are important as they signal a change of the overall tone when talking about presidential elections, he added.“Most political experts do not believe that Putin or Medvedev could face serious competition from the pack of politicians that we have now in Russia – they all have pretty limited electorates,” Babich told RT. “Basically, Medvedev just repeated what the legislation said about presidential elections.”“It is a slight change from what we have been hearing during the last two years, because in the last two years Putin and Medvedev were basically mostly talking about themselves,” he added. “The person is not important here. What is important is to have a predictable president, someone who would not buy into nice words that we hear from the West or from the East, and who would be realistic. I must tell you that almost all the Russian politicians now are very realistic. Sometimes they are too realistic.”According to the latest poll by the Levada Center, if the presidential election was held next weekend, 27% of Russians would cast their ballots for Putin, while 20% would vote for Medvedev. The Communists’ leader Gennady Zyuganov is far behind with only 4% of the population supporting him. Almost a quarter of those who took part in the poll still have no idea who they would like to see as the next head of the Kremlin.

No political intrigue behind top human rights official resignation – Medvedev

Talking to journalists on Monday, the president – who is currently in his summer residence in Sochi – commented on the recent resignation of Ella Pamfilova, the chairwoman of the Presidential Council for the Promotion of Civil Society Institutions and Human Rights. There is no political component in the move, Medvedev said.“There is no tragedy here, there are no elements of political intrigue at all,” he said, wrote Interfax. Pamfilova had been considering quitting for quite a while and had spoken to Medvedev about her plans on three occasions.The president added that he could not have rejected her resignation letter. “One can deny resignation to the government, but if an official tenders their resignation, it is automatically accepted,” he said.He assured that the Council will continue its work, adding that currently several candidates are being considered for the now vacant post.

Lukashenko promised to recognize S. Ossetia, Abkhazia

Belarusian President Aleksandr Lukashenko has promised to recognize the independence of the two Caucasian republics – South Ossetia and Abkhazia, Medvedev said. The statement was made in the presence of several leaders of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), he added.“He said ‘I vow and declare to do everything as soon as possible’,” Medvedev quoted his Belarusian counterpart.The recognition of the two states is in Moscow’s interests, Medvedev told the journalists. However, “it is not an end in itself.” He added that such a task has never been set.Russia recognized the independence of the two republics shortly after the Five-Day War in the Caucasus which broke out after Georgian troops attacked the South Ossetian capital of Tskhinval in August 2008. So far the states have also been recognized by Nicaragua, Venezuela and Nauru – an island nation in Micronesia.

Russia to increase spending on military hardware

Russia will increase the budget for purchasing modern weapons for the country’s Armed Forces by 1.5 times in order for the military to get principally new technical equipment in ten years’ time, Medvedev told journalists on Monday.“After the events in the South Caucasus in August 2008 we have made considerable progress in what concerns the Armed Forces. Both the military doctrine and the material-technical component have changed,” he said.According to the head of state, “We have increased spending on modern weapons 1.5 times compared to our initial plans.” He added that the decision had demanded “energy and rigidity” from him since the government feared the budget would not be balanced.“But such a decision has been made. It is a huge sum of money and it is important to spend it properly,” Medvedev stated. Provided the resources are spent correctly, “our Armed Forces will get principally new weaponry in ten years.”“I do not feel ashamed for this decision. I got it adopted at the hardest time,” he said, cites Itar-Tass. The president underlined that Russia must be ready to protect its people “and respond to any threat appropriately no matter where it comes from.”“This is why our Armed Forces must be modern, mobile and combat-capable by definition,” Medvedev noted."For 18 years, the Russian army bought almost no new weapons, except to support its nuclear shield," Konstantin Makienko, from the Center for Analysis of Strategies and Technologies, told RT. "Conventional arms were always financed with what was left over in the budget. After 18 years, it's critical to start purchasing modern weapons."

Medvedev’s holiday plans: yoga, iPad and fishing with Putin

Medvedev is going to stay in Sochi at the presidential residence – known as Bocharov Ruchei – until the end of August. However, he noted that it should not be considered a holiday.“It is simply a transfer of work to a summer residence,” he said. “You still have to go to the office every day, hold meetings and events. And by the time you finally get to the sea you discover it is already 21:00.” But it is still a chance to change the scenery and enjoy the fresh sea air, he added.He told journalists that, while continuing his work, he will also try to get some rest, do some sporting activities and read. “As for sport, I have started learning cycling. But it is hot there, so I will not cycle,” Medvedev said. “I hope to exercise yoga, for I have not been doing enough of it lately,” the president said, writes Itar-Tass.The president – known for his love for modern gadgets – confessed that he has “come to like reading from the iPad lately”. You get both a high quality and can download hundreds of books to choose from depending on your mood, Medvedev explained. “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” by Swedish writer and journalist Stig Larsson is among the latest books the Russian president has read.Medvedev also said that he might also go fishing in the Astrakhan region on the Volga River with Premier Putin. However, he added, that can only be possible if the situation in the country – especially with the fires raging – allows.