Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin says he would ‘think about’ running for president in 2012, refusing to rule out the possibility that he could return to the Kremlin. As casting himself as a paternal figure protecting people from the threat of terrorism and economic upheavals, Putin vows the Russian government will step up the fight against terrorism.
In an electric four-hour solo performance on live television, Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said he will think about whether to reclaim the presidency - one of the strongest signals yet that he may run again for Russia's top office in 2012.
Putin made the statement during a question-and-answer show on television and radio highlighted his dominance of Russia's political scene. "I will think about it, there is still enough time," Putin said when asked whether he will run in the next election. "Don't hold your breath," Putin told another person who asked whether he was planning to leave politics.
Putin added he wants to focus now on his job as premier and make sometimes unpopular decisions without having to take electoral considerations into account. Putin had to shift into the premier's seat in 2008 following two consecutive terms in office, but since then the presidential term has been extended to six years and Putin is eligible to run again in 2012.
Putin's marathon television show, similar to previous call-ins he did when he was president, demonstrated that he continued to call the shots, overshadowing his designated successor, President Dmitry Medvedev. Putin has said earlier that instead of competing against each other in 2012, he and Medvedev will "sit down and decide" who will run as the elections get closer
. The bookish Medvedev was in Italy on Thursday to meet with the Italian leaders and the pope. Medvedev has never made a similar appearance on television since his March 2008 election.
Asked about his "tandem" with Medvedev, Putin said their common educational background and views allowed them to "efficiently work together." Putin, who has cast himself as a paternal figure protecting people from the threat of terrorism and economic upheavals, vowed Thursday that the Russian government will step up the fight against terrorism.