Officials register Putin 2012 websites in election riddle
Revelations that a Russian state agency had snapped up website names including Putin2012.rf sparked speculation Friday that Prime Minister Vladimir Putin plans to return to the Kremlin in 2012.
The Federal Guard Service, which is in charge of protecting the president, prime minister and other high officials, has registered domains in the Cyrillic alphabet including Putin-2012.rf, Gazeta.ru website reported Friday.
It headlined its story "Putin has registered for the elections," amid feverish debate over whether Putin will stand for election in 2012 or whether President Dmitry Medvedev will run for a second term.
Putin and Medvedev have said that they will come to a gentleman's agreement and only one will stand. In the absence of firmer information, the smallest sign of possible intentions is seized on by Kremlin watchers.
The domain registration website Reg.ru writes that the Cyrillic domain Putin-2012.rf was bought by the Federal Guard Service in August, along with domains such as Premier2012. Neither address was working Friday afternoon.
None of more than 400 domains registered by the Federal Guard Service uses Medvedev's name in conjunction with the election year 2012 or gives any other hint at elections.
The service also registered domains called PutinTigry.rf, or Putin Tigers.rf, and PutinBelukha.rf, or Putin Beluga, reflecting the prime minister's macho taste for encounters with wild animals.
© 2010 AFP