Russia praises Berlusconi for deciding to step down
Russian President Dmitry Medvedev's top economic aide on Wednesday called Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi's decision to resign as a positive step aimed at calming the financial markets.
Arkady Dvorkovich described Berlusconi -- who shares a personal friendship with Prime Minister Vladimir Putin and promotes closer trade ties with Russia -- as a strong leader who was sacrificing his career for a greater good.
"Being someone who has immense political will, he was ready to take serious steps -- including personal ones -- in order to improve" the situation, Dvorkovich was quoted as saying by the RIA Novosti news agency.
"I think his main purpose was to show that the actions being taken by the Italian government are sufficient to avoid a debt crisis and stabilise the situation," the Kremlin aide said.
Italy's 75-year-old premier announced his resignation plans on Tuesday under intense pressure from the markets. He is expected to step down by the end of the month.
© 2011 AFP