MOSCOW – Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has said he finds it “hard to imagine” that he and Prime Minister Vladimir Putin would run against each other at next year’s presidential election, according to the BBC. Competition between them could, he said, “be harmful”.
But, speaking to the Financial Times, Medvedev declined to confirm whether he would stand for a second term. He said reports that there was a growing rivalry between the two men were “absolutely inappropriate”. When asked in the interview if he intended to seek a second term in the Kremlin, the Russian president said “any leader who holds the post of president simply must want to run”. But – he added – “it was another issue” whether he would “take this decision or not”.
He appeared to rule out standing against Putin, if the prime minister decided to put forward his candidacy. “Vladimir Putin and myself – and Vladimir Putin is my colleague and an old friend – represent, to a large extent, one and the same political force. And therefore competition between us may be detrimental to [our] tasks and goals,” he told the FT.
Medvedev repeated his vow to modernise the country, and said this depended on expanding political competition. He warned that “in the absence of political competition the foundations of a market economy were beginning to disappear.”