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Medvedev wraps up campaign for Russian presidency with promise to continue Putin's course

Medvedev wraps up campaign for Russian presidency with promise to continue Putin's course

The man all but certain to become Russia's next president pledged Wednesday to maintain Vladimir Putin's course and focus on stability as the county counted down the final days to the election.
Dmitry Medvedev also promised to intensify the fight against corruption, cut red tape and encourage small business.
"I will feel obliged to continue the course which has proven its efficiency over the past eight years: the course of President Putin," Medvedev told voters in Nizhny Novgorod, about 400 kilometers (250 miles) east of Moscow.
Medvedev, a first deputy prime minister openly endorsed by Putin, made similar pledges later in a recorded televised address to the nation set against the backdrop of the Volga River city's snow-covered ancient towers.
"We need political stability, we need to keep improving people's lives, develop the economy, ensure reliable protection of Russia's sovereignty and protect citizen's freedoms," Medvedev said, imitating Putin's forceful manner of speaking.
The address, shown repeatedly on state-run television, looked and sounded strongly like a campaign speech, though it was broadcast as part of newscasts. It was preceded by a nearly eight-minute news report on Medvedev's campaign appearance, and most of that report was taken up by his speech to voters.
Medvedev is expected to easily win Sunday's vote, thanks to Putin's broad popularity and the Kremlin's overwhelming control over the national media and political landscape. Opinion polls indicate he could win about 70 percent of the vote.
Putin, who accepted Medvedev's offer to become prime minister if Medvedev is elected, has said he would retain a leading role.
"I always have felt comfortable working together with the president," Medvedev said, adding he and Putin always had "comrade-like, productive interaction" since the early 1990s.
Medvedev, who has cultivated an image of a liberal and business-friendly leader, also promised to implement new measures to combat endemic official graft.
"A plan for combating corruption will be approved in a few months, and we will start implementing it," he said.
He pledged to rein in corporate raiders who often use force to seize companies from rightful owners and to streamline state regulations to make life easier for small businesses.
Medvedev praised the main pro-Kremlin political party United Russia, but said that the nations must have a viable multiparty system.
"We have had enough of revolutions, instability and declining living standards, we want to have a break," he said. "We need decades of stable development."
While Medvedev has had regular and lavish coverage in prime-time TV newscasts, the three other candidates in the race _ Communist Gennady Zyuganov, ultranationalist Vladimir Zhirinovsky and Andrei Bogdanov, who poses as a liberal but is widely seen as just a Kremlin-backed contender _ have been rarely shown in news casts.
Their campaign commercials and debates have been mostly relegated to inconvenient, little-viewed time slots.
Medvedev has refused to take part in the debates, citing a busy schedule.


Updated : 2021-01-22 22:11 GMT+08:00