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Putin backs Medvedev as his successor

Years of speculation has ended in Russia, after President Vladimir Putin named his favoured successor – 42-year-old Dmitry Medvedev. If elected, Medvedev will become the country’s youngest leader since the Czars.

On Monday he was backed by four powerful parties, who claim to represent 80 percent of voters.

Medvedev has been one of two First Deputy Prime Ministers and is also Chairman of state gas monopoly Gazprom.

Putin said Medvedev was clearly the best man for the job: “I’ve known him for 17 years and fully support his candidacy,” Putin said.

Putin said the nomination “was suggested by representatives of four parties, two of which do not only have seats in Parliament, but also won a majority of votes. All four parties represent the opinions of many different groups in Russian society. All that says that we have a chance of establishing a stable power in the Russian Federation after the election in March 2008,” he said.

Looking to the future, Putin said Russia would continue “to move in the direction which has already brought about many positive results in the last eight years.”

Medvedev says the main goal of the next President is to make the Russian Government more responsible.

United Russia, Fair Russia, the Agrarian Party and Civil Force all echoed Putin’s support.

Why Medvedev?

There's a poor link between society and the government, and the situation is chronic. To eliminate it, we need to talk to the government, without hesitation, to call it to order, to call it to respond to the needs of civil society.

Dmitry Medvedev

Boris Gryzlov, the leader of United Russia, says the motto for the next four years is 'improvement to the quality of life'. And Medvedev, he said, is the best candidate to deliver that.

“On Saturday we started talks with the United Russia Party and the Fair Russia Party. Then the Agrarian Party and the Civil Force Party joined in. All four of us represent about 80% of the electorate… We have made a decision about the candidacy of Dmitry Medvedev to stand for the next presidency. He is the most socially-oriented candidate we can think of,” Gryzlov said.

Leader of the Fair Russia party, Sergey Mironov, said Medvedev’s brilliant knowledge of civil and international law and vast experience as a civil servant will help him work as head of state.

“Over the last year President Putin has said many times the next president should be a young and modern professional with good future prospects,” Mironov said.

Medvedev’s candidacy will be officially nominated at United Russia’s congress next week.

Several others have already declared their intention to run at the March 2 election.

Among them are Communist leader, Gennady Zyuganov, Liberal Democrat leader Vladimir Zhirinovsky, and well-known dissident Vladimir Bukovsky.

Russian Communist Party Gennady Zyuganov has said Medvedev has been President Putin's right hand man for many years – so the nomination is no surprise.

Medvedev's profile

  • 1965 – Born, St. Petersburg
  • 1987 – graduated from the law department of the Leningrad (now St. Petersburg) State University
  • 1990 – awarded PhD in Private Law
  • 1990–1999 – worked as an assistant professor at the St. Petersburg State University
  • 1991–1996 – worked as a legal expert in the St. Petersburg Mayor’s Office under Vladimir Putin
  • 1994 – became an adviser to the Mayor's Office
  • 1999 – Deputy Chief of Staff in the Kremlin under Putin
  • 2000 – elected chairman of Russia's energy giant Gazprom
  • 2005 – appointed First Deputy Prime Minister
  • “From my point of view the nomination was fully predictable. Medvedev was and is Putin's friend and his right hand man. For many years, he's been Putin's main aide and trusted man,” the leader of Russian Communists thinks.

    “Also Medvedev was the one to manage social issues which is the country's toughest policy area. Putin hopes Medvedev can change the situation for the better,” he added.

    Zhirinovsky pointed out that “because of his young age, Medvedev is less connected with the Soviet regime.”

    “The second positive thing is that he is a lawyer. That is very important as a head of state, because all matters of government are judicial,” said the leader of Russian Liberal-Democrats.

    “Finally, he has the backing of President Putin and United Russia Party,” he concluded.

    Monday's announcement has taken the political world by surprise. The country's biggest party – United Russia – was not expected to reveal its candidate until December 17, when the party holds its congress.

    Dmitry Medvedev came to national prominence in Russia after being put in charge of national projects.  He's been given responsibility to improve housing, education and health care across the country.

    Agriculture was another of his top priorities. Medvedev lashed out at some regional authorities who he thought were not helping farmers enough.

    Stock markets in Russia have risen to all time highs on news of the nomination of Medvedev for the presidency.

    “We won't allow anyone hurt Russia” – Medvedev
    At the World Economic Forum in Davos in January 2007, Medvedev gave his views on foreign policy and his vision of Russia's place on the world stage.

    I can say that I see nothing wrong and bad in the existence of a party related president in our country. Even more, I think that in the near future the president should share the political views of one party. But today we have a certain number of political realities. But I can cautiously put it that way – at the moment our country is far more ready for a so-called ‘Party President’, than, for example, ten or fifteen years ago, when the occurrence a political party member in Russia's top job would have exploded our country.

    Dmitry Medvedev, Moscow,
    September 2007
    “We aren’t trying to push anyone to love Russia, but we won't allow anyone to hurt Russia. We'll strive to win respect both for the citizens of Russia and for the country as a whole. Moreover, this shall be achieved not by using force but rather by our own behaviour and by our achievements,” Medvedev said.

    For more on Medvedev's views on foreign policy please follow the link

    Russia under Medvedev? Commentators` views

    Russia today's political commentator Peter Lavelle says Medvedev has proved himself as an effective operator.

    “As a nominee Dmitry Medvedev is everything we should be looking for: he has got experience in government, he is very close to President Putin and he has taken some tough jobs in reforming the economic infrastructure. He has shown that he is a ”can do“ guy. So, overall he has all the qualifications that we should have expected from someone that follow a very big choose of Vladimir Putin,” Lavelle said.

    For further comments please follow the link

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