Medvedev backs Putin for Russian president

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has proposed Prime Minister Vladimir Putin to run for Russian president in next year’s election, bringing an end to 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 do “practical work in the government.”

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 parliament.

“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 standing ovation at Moscow’s gigantic Luzhniki sports complex.

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.

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