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Putin tells Russia's government to prepare for his becoming prime minister

Putin tells Russia's government to prepare for his becoming prime minister

President Vladimir Putin urged the Russian government Thursday to work harder than ever before the March presidential election to prepare for his taking over as prime minister when he leaves the Kremlin.
Putin has said he would accept the prime minister's post if his protege, Dmitry Medvedev, is elected president in March.
"The task for (Prime Minister) Viktor Zubkov's government is to ensure work of such intensity that even my possible arrival at the White House would seem like a holiday to everyone," Putin said during a Cabinet meeting at the Russian government headquarters, known as the White House.
"In the period ahead of the presidential election the whole state machine, and primarily the government, must work dependably and steadily," he said.
Medvedev, 42, a first deputy prime minister, appears certain to win the March 2 election, given Putin's support and the Kremlin's control over the political landscape and national television.
Putin has pledged not to undermine his successor by weakening Russia's strong presidential system and transferring powers to the prime minister's office, but many believe Putin would remain the real leader of Russia, at least in the short term.
During the Cabinet meeting, the last of the year, Putin reeled off a string of statistics showing the economic growth secured by the oil-rich country in 2007.
Gross domestic product will have grown by 7.6 percent this year, he said, adding that the government's budget surplus would amount to 3.6 percent of GDP.
Putin said the country's growing financial strength has led to a reduction in the number of Russians living below the poverty line to 12-13 percent, down from 15 percent in 2006.
The Russian economy has seen steady growth during Putin's eight years in office thanks to high prices for oil, the main export commodity.


Updated : 2021-08-05 01:12 GMT+08:00