Monday, December 10, 2007

And the winner is...

Russian President Vladimir Putin has ended months of speculation by naming Dmitry Medvedev as his pick to succeed him as the president of Russia. The 42-year old Medvedev is currently serving as the first deputy prime minister.

Medvedev was considered an early favorite to succeed Putin, but recent political moves – such as the elevation of another Putin ally, Viktor Zubkov to the position of prime minister in September - cast doubt on his eventual selection. Like many of Putin's inner circle, Medvedev began his political career in St. Petersburg, Putin's hometown. Medvedev is described as one of the most liberal of the Kremlin insiders. He does not have a background with the state security services - the KGB, or its successor the FSB, as do a number of the other members of Putin's inner circle.

Medvedev's election could lead to improved relations with the West. In a BBC profile Medvedev expressed his belief in democracy, saying "we are well aware that no non-democratic state has ever become truly prosperous for one simple reason: freedom is better than non-freedom."

The Russian presidential election is scheduled for March 2.
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