Putin will be my Prime Minister: Medvedev

The clear favourite to become Russia`s next President, Dmitry Medvedev, says he wants Vladimir Putin to be the country`s Prime Minister. Medvedev says it will ensure successful policies, which helped overcome economical and social problems, are continued.

The announcement came in a televised address to the nation.

To read the extract from Medvedev's statement please follow the link.

Medvedev believes Russia's current focus saved the country from economical collapse and a civil war.

It's important to keep the capabilities of the team formed by the current president. That's why I believe this is of principal importance for our country  to keep Vladimir Putin in the position as the head of the government. He topped the list of the largest party – United Russia – and achieved outstanding success in the parliamentary vote.
Dmitry Medvedev
Russia's likely next President
“Putin topped the list of the largest party – United Russia – and achieved outstanding success in the parliamentary vote. Only with this group will the new executive and lawmaking powers work effectively,” Medvedev said.

On Monday, the ruling United Russia party along with three others, announced support for Medvedev becoming President as next year's election. Vladimir Putin also backs First Deputy Prime Minister Medvedev, who he's known for 17 years.

The current Prime Minister Viktor Zubkov said he was very positive about Medvedev:

“I think he’s a great choice, he is a very intelligent person. He was entrusted with the most important projects both in the government and the President’s administration,” Zubkov said.

Viktor Zubkov has called Medvedev's proposal logical.

“A potential presidential candidate's desire to see such a strong personality as Vladimir Putin on the post of the country's prime minister is understandable and logical. It is now up to Vladimir Putin himself to make a choice as to how he will act,” he said.

“The current cabinet is working and will be working normally to prevent problems in the economy before May, 2008, when all the government members will have to resign in line with the Constitution,” he added.

And First Deputy Prime Minister Sergey Ivanov who, along with Medvedev, was identified as a top candidate to get Putin’s Presidential support, acknowledged his colleague as a very good choice:

“I knew beforehand about the decision announced yesterday. I fully supported it and I am still supporting it. I am fully convinced that the combination of all his qualities will make him a very successful President of our country,” Ivanov said.

The head of Russia’s largest bank, ‘Sberbank’, German Gref says that if Putin becomes Russian Prime-Minister, “it will cement the whole political structure”.

“It is obvious that a politician with such a high level of citizen’s trust is an ideal candidacy for the position of one of the heads of country's executive branch of power,” he said.

“The immense experience that Putin gained during his presidency will definitely be a help for a new leader, for Dmitry Medvedev in particular, if he is elected. And generally – for the country in such a complicated period, when Russia re-enters the global political and economic arena,” Gref said.

There has been no reaction yet from the Putin to the statement by Medvedev.

Analysts' comments

Political analyst Aleksandr Pikayev said there is nothing principally new in this proposal.

“President Putin himself some time ago expressed his interest in occupying the position of Prime Minister. He is a leader of the ruling party and if he decides to be Prime Minister – it might not be good news for the West, which does not hide its desire to replace Mr Putin with somebody else or retire, but for Russia it is probably good news, for this nomination will help to create a more balanced system on institutionalised power,” observed Mr Pikayev.

“Probably, Medvedev thinks that in the present conditions he will not manage to have the full power structure – the vertical power which Putin built in the country – under control and he needs a kind of tandem to rule together with Putin and to conduct the necessary politics,” said Alexander Rahr, German council on Foreign relations.

For further comments please follow the link.

Division of powers

If the current President becomes Prime Minister, it would be a first in Russia's young democratic history, but it would be within the law.

Constitutionally, this would make Putin subordinate to the new president, with less power but arguably more responsibility.

The Prime Minister’s responsibilities are mainly domestic. He is directly answerable to both the president and the majority party in the State Duma. Civilian ministries, like education and health, report to the prime minister, and he is there to implement policy rather than set it.  

The president, on the other hand, is a military and international figurehead.  He’s Commander-in-Chief of the armed forces, controls the Security Council, which oversees Russia’s defence and security. He has the power to declare a state of emergency or impose military law. He sets foreign policy, and appoints the head of the Central Bank.

Division of powers between the President and the Prime Minister
Division of powers between the President and the Prime Minister

Some analysts say a Medvedev-Putin “dream-team” might bring about changes in Russia’s political landscape.

To find out more, please follow the link.

Markets upbeat after Medvedev's initiative

The Russian stock market has risen slightly to the news that Dmitry Medvedev would ask Vladimir Putin to head the government after the March election.

On Monday, the market jumped sharply after Vladimir Putin backed Dmitry Medvedev as a new president. And after Tuesday's statement, the trend continued.

Experts have said that Dmitry Medvedev's candidacy for president will attract foreign investors and would increase stability in russian politics which would be positive for the stock market.