With just about a year to go until Russia elects a new president, speculation is increasing about the unofficial deal Vladimir Putin and Dmitri Medvedev cooked up three years ago.
It is widely assumed Putin stepped down after two consecutive terms in Medvedev’s favour in order to make a comeback in 2012, when Medvedev would return the favour. With the president in China, the prime minister was asked his thoughts on 2012.
“Neither he nor I exclude the possibility of running for president. But we will base our decision upon the social, economic and political situation in the country. Of course this decision needs to be taken,” said Putin on Thursday.
Medvedev could serve a second term, and he is increasingly showing signs of wanting to. Before leaving for his China visit, he indicated the subject is on his mind.
“As for the future no-one can tell, but I can tell you that as the current Head of State, as President, I am thinking about it, it is my duty. I do not rule out the possibility of my running for a second presidential term.”
Senior figures in United Russia, the ruling party of which Putin is chairman, are starting to express their preference for the former president, but in one recent opinion poll 25 percent of those asked who they would prefer said neither.