Lets Swap: Putin Runs for President and Medvedev for Prime Minister…

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has proposed Prime Minister Vladimir Putin to run for Russian president in next year’s election, ending months of speculation over which man would run for the post.

Speaking at the annual congress of the ruling United Russia party on Saturday, Medvedev said he was ready to make way for Putin and do “practical work in the government.” That means Putin could still be running Russia in 2024.

Earlier, Putin told the congress that Medvedev should top the party’s list of candidates in parliamentary elections on December 4. The party is led by Putin and dominates Russian politics.

“Given the offer to head the party list and engage in party work, and given a successful run at the elections… I believe that it would be appropriate if the congress approved Vladimir Putin’s candidacy for the post of the president of Russia,” Medvedev said to a prolonged standing ovation at Moscow’s gigantic Luzhniki sports complex.

“This applause spares me the need to explain what experience and authority Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin possesses,” he told thousands of flag-waving delegates.

Putin was constitutionally barred from standing for a third consecutive term in 2008 and anointed Medvedev as his successor.

“I have always been asked: when are you going to make up your mind?… I and Vladimir Vladimirovich have sometimes been asked: have you fallen out with each other?”

“What we propose to the congress is a long thought-out decision,” Medvedev said. “We were actually discussing this course of action as early as when our union was being formed.”

There had been intense speculation that Putin may seek a return to the Kremlin when elections are held in March next year. Both Putin, 58, and Medvedev, 46, have said they could stand for president, but ruled out running against each other.

Medvedev said he would be ready to take over from Putin as prime minister if United Russia were to win in the December polls.

Putin took the floor after the announcement to address concerns over population decline and unemployment.

“I want to thank you for the positive reaction to the proposal for me to run for Russian president,” Putin said. “For me this is a great honor.”

The premier said he had “no doubts” Medvedev would form a “new, effective, young and energetic” cabinet when he headed Russia’s government and “continue his work on modernizing all aspects of our lives.”

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kKEETON @ Windows to Russia…

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