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Russian Ruling Party Nominates Medvedev as Putin's Successor

President Vladimir Putin has agreed to become the prime minister of Russia and offered an assurance he will not seek any redistribution of power should his chosen successor win the presidency. VOA Moscow Correspondent Peter Fedynsky reports the President made the comments as his chosen successor, ally Dmitri Medvedev, was formally nominated for the post.

The ruling United Russia Party convention in Moscow voted unanimously to nominate Dmitri Medvedev as its candidate for the presidency of Russia.

Speaking before the vote, President Putin praised Medvedev personally as an honest man, and professionally as a dedicated and experienced individual whose main interests in life are the government and its citizens.

In this connection, says Mr. Putin, he considers it necessary to announce he is prepared to serve as prime minister if voters elect Dmitri Medvedev as president of Russia.

Allowing 12 seconds for polite applause, the incumbent offers an assurance:

Mr. Putin adds there will be no change in the balance of power between the institution of the presidency and the government.

Dmitri Medvedev responded with praise for the current Kremlin leader's strategy for development of the Russian economy, rural life, and small and medium-size business.

I am convinced, says the Russian presidential nominee, that the full realization of this strategy is possible only in cooperation with its author - Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin.

Russia does not have a tradition of power sharing and there has been considerable speculation in this country over how a president Medvedev may co-exist with a prime minister Putin. Russian political analyst Andrei Kortunov of Moscow's Eurasia Foundation research center told the VOA there is more to consider than just the individuals.

Kortunov says a turf battle between the Kremlin and government staffs will take place regardless of the personal relations between the president and premier. The question, according to the analyst, is to what extent such battles can occur before turning into a serious conflict.

News reports indicate Kremlin rivalries currently exist among senior intelligence and security officials and involve mutual charges of bribery, embezzlement, and extortion. The head of Russia's Federal Drug Control Service, Viktor Cherkesov, recently warned in an open letter that the rivalry could threaten Russian stability.

The Russian presidential election is scheduled for March 2. Mr. Putin is prohibited by the constitution from a third consecutive term in office, but could return if his successor were to leave office.