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What pushes Medvedev to Russia's presidential post?
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Dmitry Medvedev, 42, won by landslide in Russia's presidential vote on Sunday, according to official preliminary results and exit polls.

The mild-looking former law professor and senior cabinet member is sure to replace incumbent President Vladimir Putin as the country's third president.

Putin's popularity, backed by a stable political situation, booming economy, as well as Medvedev's personality and credits scored in implementing national projects contributed to his victory.

By establishing a "power vertical" and strengthening law-enforcement, Putin re-legitimated the executive power and restored the constitutional order in the country that was plunging towards an all-round crisis in the late 1990s.

Under President Putin, who has ruled the nation for eight years and barred by constitution from a third consecutive term, Russia's economy kept soaring, real wage tripled and unemployment fallen sharply.

In the past five years, the Russian economy has grown at an annual rate of above 7 percent, except for 2005, when the gross domestic products, an indicator for economic performance, expanded 6.4 percent.

"Like the Americans associating the good economic times with Bill Clinton, so will the Russians associate their country's economic growth with Vladimir Putin. Unlike Clinton, however, Putin will leave his office untarnished by any major scandals," said Yelena Biberman, an expert in the Moscow State Institute of International Relations.

Medvedev, who followed Putin's steps since they worked together in St. Petersburg 17 years ago, has pledged to continue Putin's policy though he was once regarded as a pro-liberal leader.

"We must keep the flag flying: we have a lot of unresolved problems, the country must move ahead," he said at a vote-drawing occasion last week, pledging to optimize the economic structure, eliminate poverty and corruption as well as improve government efficiency and people's living standards.

Such layout, however, is still based on Putin's set policies that were aimed at shaping Russia as a great power again on the world arena.

In January, a survey conducted by the independent pollster, Levada Center, showed that 42 percent of the voters believe that Medvedev's strength came from Putin's trust in him.

Meanwhile, Medvedev will have to make greater efforts in mending Russia's fences with the West while the hawkish-to-West Putin has agreed to take the post of prime minister after his election.

(Xinhua News Agency March 3, 2008)

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