The head of Prime Minister Vladimir Putin's presidential campaign has accused Russia's President Dmitry Medvedev of failing to support Putin's effort to seek a historic third term.
In an interview published Friday in the Izvestia newspaper, Stanislav Govorukhin, a lawmaker and a famous film director, accused Medvedev of distancing himself from Putin's campaign.
He suggested that Medvedev should more actively support the man he has nominated for president.
The prime minister's spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, played down Govorukhin's statement, saying that the outgoing president gave Putin "exhaustive support" when he proposed him.
President Medvedev has been criticized for stepping down after just one term to help ensure Putin's victory in the presidential vote in March. He has said that Putin is more popular and since the two share the same views on politics, there is no point for them to compete.
Russians have staged mass protests since December's parliamentary elections, claiming fraud in favor of Putin's United Russia party.
Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.