Putin spokesman says Medvedev speaks for Russia

Reuters News
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Posted: Mar 22, 2011 1:20 PM
Putin spokesman says Medvedev speaks for Russia

BRDO PRI KRANJU, Slovenia (Reuters) - President Dmitry Medvedev speaks for Russia and Prime Minister Vladimir Putin's comment on Libya was his own personal opinion, Putin's spokesman said on Tuesday.

Medvedev appeared to rebuke Putin for comparing Western calls for action on Libya with the crusades on Monday, in the sharpest public difference yet between the members of Russia's ruling 'tandem' ahead of 2012 elections.

"We are talking about different levels of assessment here," Putin's spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters in Slovenia.

"The assessment expressed by the prime minister is nothing other than his personal opinion. The assessment expressed by the head of state (Medvedev) is the only official position of the Russian Federation, which everyone is adhering to," he said.

Putin, widely regarded as the most powerful man in Russia, told workers at a missile factory that a U.N. Security Council resolution authorizing use of force against Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi "resembles medieval calls for crusades."

Just hours later, Medvedev said the use of such terms was unacceptable and could stir up more violence, his sharpest ever public criticism of Putin.

(Reporting by Gleb Bryanski; writing by Guy Faulconbridge; editing by Steve Gutterman)