Medvedev Vows to Stay in Politics If Putin Loses Election

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said he would remain in politics even if Prime Minister Vladimir Putin loses a March 4 vote to return to the Kremlin and isn’t able to fulfill a pledge to make Medvedev his premier.

“I don’t know what will happen in May -- there are a whole number of possibilities,” Medvedev said today in a meeting with students in Moscow. “But I can say this with absolute certainty: I won’t leave politics.”

Medvedev said he chose not to seek a second term as president because Putin had a better chance of being elected. “I’ll remind you that I’m just 46 years old. That’s not such a serious age to prevent me from further political battles,” Medvedev said, adding that he may eventually run for president again.

Putin in September announced plans to return to the presidency after four years as prime minister, swapping jobs with protégé Medvedev. The Russian premier, 59, has faced the biggest protests since taking over from Boris Yeltsin as president on Dec. 31, 1999, with demonstrators taking to the streets of Moscow and other cities over alleged fraud at parliamentary elections last month.

Medvedev said some of the protestors who rallied in the Russian capital may have wanted him to run for a second term.

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