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Putin Supports Medvedev For President


By Peter Fedynsky
Moscow

Putin Supports Medvedev for President

Russian President Vladimir Putin is expressing support for the nomination of First Deputy Prime Minister Dmitri Medvedev to be his successor in the Kremlin. The 42-year-old Medvedev has been named presidential candidate by four political parties, including the ruling United Russia Party. VOA Correspondent Peter Fedynsky reports from Moscow.

President Putin says the nomination of Dmitri Medvedev offers Russia a chance to establish a stable new government that will continue policies that have proven successful during the eight years of his administration.

Mr. Putin says he has worked closely with Dmitri Medvedev for more than 17 years and fully supports his candidacy.

The Kremlin leader first picked Medvedev in the early 1990's to work in the external affairs department of the Saint Petersburg municipal government. The 42-year-old lawyer served as Mr. Putin's campaign manager in the year 2000. Subsequently, he has served as Kremlin chief of staff, and also chairman of the board of Gazprom, Russia's state energy monopoly. As first deputy prime minister, Medevedev has focused primarily on agriculture, medicine, housing, and education.

His record on social issues was noted by parliamentary speaker Boris Gryzlov, who spoke on behalf of the four political parties that advanced the Medvedev nomination.

Gryzlov says, we believe he is the most socially-oriented candidate. This is an individual who has shown very good abilities on national projects and implementation of democracy. Gryzlov says the main consideration is that Medvedev provided results.

Medvedev's name was placed in nomination by the country's ruling party, United Russia, as well as A Just Russia, the Agrarian Party and Civil Force.

What is not known is Medvedev's relations, if any, with various Russian security services known as the siloviki. These include the military and FSB (Federal Security Service), which is the successor to the KGB, where Vladimir Putin served as an agent.

Political analyst Andrei Kortunov of Moscow's Eurasia Foundation Research Center told the VOA Medvedev could face what he calls a political minefield with the siloviki and Russia's conservative, anti-Western elements.

Kortunov says when a person comes to power in Russia without a strong position regarding the siloviki, he may need to prove his loyalty to that segment of society - the establishment elite - by taking harsh steps that do not correspond with his own convictions.

The Russian presidential election is scheduled for March 2. It is widely assumed that the candidate with Mr. Putin's support will become his successor. He is prohibited by the Russian constitution from a third-consecutive term in office.

ENDS

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