President Dmitry Medvedev, who is supporting Prime Minister Vladimir Putin in Russia’s March presidential election, said he doesn’t rule out returning to the Kremlin in the future.
Medvedev said some of the tens of thousands of protesters who rallied in Moscow and other cities against the results of December’s parliamentary elections may have wanted him to run for a second term.
“I never said that I won’t ever run again” for president, he told journalism students in Moscow today. “I am only 46 years old. That’s not too old to give up any future political battles.”
Medvedev, who took over as president in 2008 because the Russian constitution prevented Putin from serving three consecutive terms in the Kremlin, agreed in September to step aside to allow his mentor’s comeback. Close aides of Medvedev had urged him to seek a second mandate and his economic adviser, Arkady Dvorkovich, expressed disappointment at the decision to give up the presidency.
Putin, 59, who is standing for a six-year term, promised Medvedev the prime minister’s job. At the time, Medvedev said he’d agreed to cede to Putin because he was a more popular politician.
Medvedev’s ambitions to regain the top job probably won’t be realized after claims of mass fraud in the December elections sparked the biggest demonstrations in more than a decade, said Yevgeny Minchenko, head of the Moscow-based Institute of Political Expertise.
“The circle around Medvedev hopes he will work as prime minister for six years and in 2018 will be a candidate for the presidency,” Minchenko said in a phone interview. “But the political situation is changing too fast, and Medvedev has few chances of keeping the premier’s job for six years and retaining the elite’s support.”