Kremlin aide says Medvedev wants second term - report

MOSCOW Fri Dec 10, 2010 1:52pm GMT

Russia's President Dmitry Medvedev (R) and Belarus' President Alexander Lukashenko attend a summit of the customs union between Russia, Kazakhstan and Belarus in Moscow's Kremlin December 9, 2010. REUTERS/Alexander Natruskin

Russia's President Dmitry Medvedev (R) and Belarus' President Alexander Lukashenko attend a summit of the customs union between Russia, Kazakhstan and Belarus in Moscow's Kremlin December 9, 2010.

Credit: Reuters/Alexander Natruskin

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MOSCOW (Reuters) - The Kremlin's top economic aide said he believes President Dmitry Medvedev wants to seek a second term in Russia's 2012 presidential election, the BBC reported Friday.

When asked whether the president wanted another term in the Kremlin, Arkady Dvorkovich answered: "I believe he does." He also said he believed Medvedev and Prime Minister Vladimir Putin had not yet decided who will run.

"I think that from what anyone can see when they look at what President Medvedev does ... he wants to continue his term and continue the agenda he started in 2008," Dvorkovich told the BBC in English, according to a transcript BBC supplied.

Medvedev and Putin have both said they will make a decision together on who will run in the elections closer to the vote.

Dvorkovich added that he believed "they didn't take the final decision yet."

Putin, 58, served as president from 2000 to 2008 and dominates what officials call a ruling tandem with Medvedev, the protege he steered into the Kremlin when a constitutional limit prevented him from running for a third term.

Dvorkovich did not respond to a text message sent by Reuters and Medvedev's spokeswoman declined immediate comment.

Many analysts and diplomats expect Putin to return to the Kremlin in 2012, and polls show most Russians believe he is still just as powerful as he was while president.

In the interview, Dvorkovich named Skolkovo, Russia's hi-tech hub, as one of the flagship projects from Medvedev's administration that showed "there is no going back."

Launched earlier this year as part of Medvedev's drive to modernise Russia's energy-dependent economy -- whose growth characterised Putin's presidency -- Skolkovo aims to give firms state backing to help them develop innovative products.

Several global firms including Microsoft have poured money into the project, which is being touted as Russia's answer to Silicon Valley, although critics warn corruption and red tape could hamper it.

Putin and Medvedev, 45, say they consult on a regular basis and agree on most issues. Signs of significant discord between them could create uncertainty and undermine investor confidence.

(Reporting by Amie Ferris-Rotman; editing by Mark Heinrich)

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