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Putin Annoints Successor — Why Now?
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Putin Annoints Successor

The Associated Press reports that Putin backs Medvedev as presidential candidate

MOSCOW – President Vladimir Putin on Monday expressed support for First Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev as his successor — a move likely to ensure Medvedev’s election.

Both Medvedev and Putin worked under St. Petersburg’s reformist mayor Anatoly Sobchak in the early 1990s. After Putin became prime minister in 1999, he brought Medvedev to Moscow to become deputy chief of staff of the Cabinet. He then moved up to become deputy chief of staff for the president, became Gazprom board head in 2002 and full presidential chief of staff in 2003.

In 2005, Putin named him a first deputy prime minister and almost immediately Medvedev began to receive extensive television coverage — even more than that accorded to the prime minister.

Sergei Ivanov, another first deputy prime minister was thought to be the most likely individual to be Putin’s successor, but Ivanov would not have been as willing as Medvedev to forgo the power of the presidency when Putin “discovers” that changes need to be made to “strengthen the democratic system of Russia” by giving a lot of power to the newly elected prime minister, Vladimir Putin.