Europe

Russia's Medvedev 'may run' again for president in 2012

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev (L) and Prime Minister Vladimir Putin (R) - file photo from 2007
Image caption A leaked US cable said Mr Medvedev (L) played Robin to Vladimir Putin's Batman (R)

The BBC has received the strongest indication yet that Russian President Dmitry Medvedev is considering a run for a second presidential term.

He's often viewed as the junior partner in the political double act running Russia - junior to prime minister Vladimir Putin.

As one leaked US embassy cable put it, Medvedev "plays Robin to Putin's Batman".

Mr Putin is widely expected to return to the Kremlin at the first opportunity. That would be at the next election in 2012.

But one of President's closest aides, Arkady Dvorkovich, gave the clearest indication yet that Dmitry Medvedev is keen to keep his job.

Modernising agenda

In his office in the Presidential Administration, I asked Mr Dvorkovich whether President Medvedev wanted another term in the Kremlin.

"I believe he does," the President's economic adviser said. "Otherwise he would not work seriously on the initiatives he announced.

"Any president who thinks he will step back in one year behaves in a different way. I think that anyone who looks at what President Medvedev does can believe that President Medvedev wants to continue his term and continue the agenda he started in 2008."

Topping that agenda is the goal of modernising Russia, and diversifying the country's economy away from oil and gas.

"Modernisation" has been the buzzword of the Medvedev presidency - ideas such as creating Russian supercomputers to building innovation parks and energy-efficient cities.

But wanting a second presidential term and actually getting it are two different things.

The indications are that to stay on in the Kremlin, Dmitry Medvedev will first need to convince Vladimir Putin it's a good idea.

"Given their constructive relationship and their friendship," explained Arkady Dvorkovich, "they will sit and consult with each other about who should go for the elections.

"They haven't taken the final decision yet. From what I heard from President Medvedev, he's not excluding the opportunity that he will go for the elections and certainly he wants to do that."

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