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'Putin running for 2012 presidency – no surprise for Washington'

Published time: September 24, 2011 19:33
Edited time: September 25, 2011 11:19

Russia's Prime Minister Vladimir Putin speaks at the congress of Russia's ruling party in Moscow, on September 24, 2011 (AFP Photo / RIA-Novosti / Alexey Druzhinin)

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The White House says it remains committed to a "reset" of US-Russia relations regardless of who becomes the next Russian president. Washington notes the “reset” was not about "individual personalities", but is a matter of national interests.

­"We are quite confident that we can continue to build on the progress made during the Obama administration," White House spokesman Tommy Vietor said on Saturday according to Reuters, after Vladimir Putin declared his intention to stand for the presidency during the March elections.

"We will continue to build on the progress of the reset whoever serves as the next president of Russia, because we believe that it is in the mutual interests of the United States and Russia and the world," Vietor added.

Political analyst Lajos Szaszdi says Saturday’s announcement of Vladimir Putin’s plans to run for the presidency in 2012 was widely expected and is unlikely to surprise anyone in Washington.

”The general impression before this announcement was made was that it would not be surprising because of the great popularity of Mr. Putin among the vast majority of the electorate and the great working relationship between Mr. Medvedev as president and Mr. Putin as prime minister and it was suspected that this decision was going to be taken,” he said.

”I do not think it came as a surprise and in fact one can say that in general the main policies followed by Mr. Medvedev as president would have been approved and agreed with his prime minister, Mr. Putin,” Lajos Szaszdi added.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s spokesman said on Saturday that Berlin will maintain good relations with Russia regardless of who its next president will be.

Merkel views Putin’s decision to run for presidency as “Russia’ internal affair.”

­Some Western members would still prefer Dmitry Medvedev to Vladimir Putin even if their official stance might be mild, says Julietto Chiesa, an ex-member of the European Parliament.

Putin has been perceived as pushing the idea of a powerful Russia, largely independent from the judgment of the West,” the former MEP told RT. “In the situation with Libya, Mr. Putin very clearly expressed his own disappointment, while President Medvedev at the very beginning seemed much more convinced. This was a very clear difference of their points. Putin is a bit more worrying from the West’s point of view.”

Julietto Chiesa says he has always perceived the Putin-Medvedev team as very solid, and believes their decision to swap seats was taken a long time ago.


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