MOSCOW (Reuters) - Vladimir Putin accepted on Saturday a proposal from President Dmitry Medvedev to run for Russia's highest office in the 2012 presidential election.
Putin, now prime minister, said Medvedev should succeed him in that role after the election in what would amount to a job swap in Russia's ruling 'tandem'. Putin, still Russia's most popular politician, is almost assured re-election.
CHARLES ROBERTSON, HEAD OF MACRO-STRATEGY AT EMERGING
MARKETS INVESTMENT BANK RENAISSANCE CAPITAL:
"Market turmoil has hit Russia hard ... With less political uncertainty, the authorities may hope that capital flight eases, and that some may return capital in coming months to take advantage of cheaper asset prices."
CHRIS WEAFER, STRATEGIST AT TROIKA DIALOGUE:
"There will not be a return to the government style and agenda priorities of the previous Putin administration. That simply is not an option. It is clear that the current economic model, i.e. reliance on oil wealth, cannot sustain growth in the economy. To achieve the targeted 5.0-5.5 percent growth Russia will need to attract a significantly larger volume of investment and the involvement of foreign investors.
"The reason for making the announcement so early is to shift the focus in the Duma election from United Russia to a plebiscite on Putin. Given United Russia's failing popularity and the real risk of a very low voter turnout, making the election a trial run for the presidential vote offers the party the best chance of retaining its current share of Duma seats."
MIKHAIL KASYANOV, OPPOSITION POLITICIAN, PRIME MINISTER 2000-2004:
"It was a predictable result. The most harsh and unpleasant scenario has been chosen. But a collapse is predictable and will develop faster in a year or two. They will not be able to hold power for six years.
LYUDMILA ALEXEYEVA, VETERAN HUMAN RIGHTS CAMPAIGNER:
"It means that for another six years, or maybe 12, the country will not go anywhere but will stay fixed in place and in fact slip downward due to corruption, the decline of business, the lack of independent courts and media."
"Until we have a strong civil society, no matter who is president -- whether it is Medvedev or Putin or even some angel -- the relationship between those in power and society will stay roughly as they are now."
RUPRECHT POLENZ, CHAIRMAN OF THE GERMAN BUNDESTAG'S FOREIGN
"This shows that Russia is far away from open, democratic competition for the presidency.
"I don't expect any change in direction in Russian politics. In the real power-sharing set-up, Putin had the power in Russia as prime minister."
VLADIMIR FROLOV, PRESIDENT OF LEFF GROUP, A GOVERNMENT
RELATIONS AND PR FIRM:
"This outcome has been priced in by markets - the commotion is all external ... Medvedev is leaving the presidency but stays on the scene as a reformist prime minister to implement unpopular and painful modernizing reforms."
ANDREI PIONTKOVSKY, POLITICAL ANALYST AT THE RUSSIAN ACADEMY
"The danger is that it deprives the establishment of any illusions for liberalization and modernization. For today the country must face a very gloomy outlook. This is stagnation and decay ... this is the Brezhnev era revisited."
TIM ASH, EMERGING MARKETS ECONOMIST AT RBS IN LONDON:
"It's no real surprise -- we all knew Putin runs the show. This just affirms who is the alpha-male in the relationship.
"It does show that the ruling party is worried that its popularity is declining. A combination of declining popularity and a difficult economic situation means they wanted a safe pair of hands.
"I wouldn't expect a market reaction ... It takes one negative away, but the bigger issues remain -- the dreadful state of the global economy and Russia's overdependence on natural resources."
ALEXEI MUKHIN, MOSCOW-BASED Center FOR POLITICAL INFORMATION
"Medvedev showed, as he has in the past, that he is a full participant in the tandem and in no way intends to start a conflict with his elder partner."
(Reporting By Thomas Grove, Douglas Busvine, Dasha Korsunskaya, Andres Rinke; Editing by Robert Woodward)