Russia’s President Medvedev “won’t stand against Putin”

BBC News reports: “Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has said he finds it ‘hard to imagine’ that he and Prime Minister Vladimir Putin would run against each other at next year’s presidential election.

Competition between them could, he said, ‘be harmful’.

But, speaking to the Financial Times, Mr. Medvedev declined to confirm whether he would stand for a second term.

He said reports that there was a growing rivalry between the two men were ‘absolutely inappropriate’.

The president’s statements were full of mixed messages, says the BBC‘s Steve Rosenberg in Moscow.

When asked in the interview if he intended to seek a second term in the Kremlin, the Russian president said ‘any leader who holds the post of president simply must want to run’.

But – he added – ‘it was another issue’ whether he would ‘take this decision or not’.

He appeared to rule out standing against Mr. Putin, if the prime minister decided to put forward his candidacy.

‘Vladimir Putin and myself – and Vladimir Putin is my colleague and an old friend – represent, to a large extent, one and the same political force. And therefore competition between us may be detrimental to [our] tasks and goals,’ he told the FT…” (Could Putin become the “Gog of Magog” for World War III? – Ezekiel 38:1, 2; 39:1, 2, 12, 13.)