Putin keeps experts guessing over 2012 plans
Prime Minister Vladimir Putin Monday said it was too early to say if he would stand for Russian president in 2012 but dropped an intriguing reference to four-term US president Franklin D. Roosevelt.
With speculation fizzing over whether Putin or President Dmitry Medvedev will stand in the 2012 polls, Putin vowed that neither he nor the current Russian president would do anything against the Russian constitution.
Putin ruled Russia as president in the maximum two consecutive terms allowed by the constitution from 2000-2008 and then handed over to Medvedev, becoming a powerful prime minister.
After a four-year break from the Kremlin, there is nothing to stop Putin standing for another two presidential terms.
"There was an American president -- Roosevelt -- who was elected four times in a row because the law allowed it," Putin told an annual meeting of international experts on Russia known as the Valdai Club.
Franklin D. Roosevelt served an unprecedented four terms as US president from 1933-1945, spanning the Great Depression to World War II, and dying just before the Allied victory over Nazi Germany.
"Neither me nor President Medvedev will do something that will counter the basic law, the constitution of the Russian Federation," Putin said.
"We have talked about what we will do in 2011 or at the start of 2012 several times. We will act according to the real situation in the country, from what we have done, from the mood of the country.
"It's still early to talk about this," he added at the meeting in the Black Sea resort of Sochi.
Many experts believe that Putin still holds the real power in Russia and has been planning to return to the Kremlin in 2012 to bolster his position as its undisputed number one.
© 2010 AFP