Russia's Medvedev hints he may not run again

AP News
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Posted: Apr 25, 2011 2:27 PM
Russia's Medvedev hints he may not run again

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said Monday he might choose a job as the "angel" of high-tech business when he leaves office, in a clear hint that he may not run for re-election.

Medvedev was hand-picked for the presidency by his predecessor, Vladimir Putin, who currently serves as prime minister. Although Medvedev said as recently as two weeks ago that he did not exclude seeking a second term in March 2012, Putin is widely expected to reclaim the presidency.

Medvedev, 45, said in televised remarks that after his career in government is over he might seek a job at Skolkovo, a Moscow suburb where he is trying to develop a high-tech hub similar to California's Silicon Valley.

"I would like to participate in the processes related to the promotion of these new technologies _ through Skolkovo or through other institutions _ as a business angel or as a man who would be engaged in the development of this business," Medvedev said in an interview with the Dozhd cable television channel.

Bookish and boyish, Medvedev describes himself as a "fan" of new technologies. He actively tweets and blogs using his videoblog on the Kremlin website, while pushing ambitious plans to modernize the Russian economy.

As part of efforts to attract much-needed foreign investment, he welcomed then-California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and a delegation of business leaders and venture capitalists to Skolkovo.

Medvedev, who once taught law, said Skolkovo might be the right place to be, if he decides to go back to teaching.

"Maybe, if things go well at Skolkovo and everything works there, I'd like to teach there, without a doubt," he said. "For any politician who headed a state it's a must to tell about his experience, both negative and positive."

Medvedev thanked the journalists for "not asking" him about the 2012 election.

The uncertainty over which man will run prevents Medvedev, particularly, from being seen as a lame duck, and serves to stimulate interest in the presidential election by creating a pretense of political competition.

With average Russians, Putin remains the more popular leader. His tough language and anti-Western tone play well with most of his countrymen, who see him as the defender of Russia's great-power status and the guarantor of their security and future prosperity.