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What makes Putin choose Medvedev as successor
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Russia's ruling party, the United Russia, on Monday officially nominated former law professor and a close ally of President Vladimir Putin, First Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, as candidate for next March's presidential election.


Putin, who was barred by the Constitution from serving a third consecutive term, has voiced his strong support for the nomination on the same occasion by accepting Medvedev's invitation to take the post of prime minister after he steps down, given Medvedev wins in the election.


Loyalty first


Born both in Leningrad, Russia's second largest city that resumed the name of St. Petersburg after the Soviet Union collapses; having studied laws both in the Leningrad State University; having worked both in the St. Petersburg government's external affairs committee and then the government, Medvedev, 42, has been well known to his alumni and patron Putin, 55.


"I have known him very closely for more than 17 years and I completely and fully support this proposal," Putin said last Monday, when the United Russia and other three major parties, Fair Russia, Agrarian and Civil Force, jointly suggested Medvedev join in the presidential race.


"Medvedev's very personality makes any confrontation scenarios unlikely," the thinktank website Russiaprofile said in a comment.


Observers believe that Medvedev, seen as "the most unremarkable figure in the struggle for power," and Putin share common concept of values and are similar in terms of enthusiasm in serving the country.


Putin designated the four national projects -- public health, education, housing and agriculture -- to Medvedev in 2005 when he was promoted from presidential chief of staff to the current position, which was seen as a sign of trust but a tough mission in nature.


Medvedev, requiring all people to work hard and labeling failure to accomplish tasks set by Putin as demoralization, then exhibited his ability and personality, and passed through the fiery trial by pushing the economy growing along a fast track.


Putin-Medvedev framework for Russia


Putin, who has repeatedly pledged to step down amid appeals asking him to stay but never specify what post he will take after next March's election, put an end to the guessing game by agreeing to lead the government if Medvedev wins in the run.


"If citizens give a vote of confidence to Dmitry Medvedev and elect him Russia's president, I will be ready to lead the government," Putin said on Monday's congress of the United Russia.


"Whatever this move may, in the end, entail for the exact redistribution of power in Moscow, it implies that Medvedev will, probably, become Russia's official leader, while Putin will remain its most powerful man after March 2008," said Andreas Umland, a lecturer at the National Taras Shevchenko University of Kyiv.


Such a political arrangement will forge a "two-tower" situation in Russia next year, a pro-liberal president and a more powerful but maybe not so pro-liberal prime minister, analysts say.


Anyway, Putin's existing policies will continue after the election and Russia is expected to keep on rising along the track designated by the then former president.


(Xinhua News Agency December 18, 2007)

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