Russian president-elect and outgoing premier Vladimir Putin said on Wednesday that working in the government was a real test for him and compared it with an advanced training course.
Putin has occupied the prime ministerial post for four years since stepping down as president in 2008. He will be inaugurated for a new term as president on May 7.
“Work in the government all these years, very hard years, was a true test for me, a special school. Sometimes I had the feeling I was attending an advanced training course,” Putin said in his farewell address to the current cabinet.
The premier, who briefly worked as prime minister in 1999-2000, thanked all the cabinet members for their work together.
“I’d like to thank you all for your patience and tact in our joint work… despite difficulties and strained nerves,” Putin said.
He praised all the cabinet members for doing their work as best they could, though acknowledged some shortcomings.
“Every government member took professional and political responsibility for the situation in their sectors,” Putin said.
The premier also thanked regional governors for employment programs, and the government for the pension overhaul and for Russia’s stronger ties with former Soviet republics, particularly the formation of a customs union and the common economic space of Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan.