Russia's Medvedev 'proved sceptics wrong': Biden
Vice President Joe Biden on Wednesday delivered the most emphatic US support yet to Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, saying he had defied suggestions he would be a weak leader.
"Your personal leadership and progress has proved the sceptics wrong," Biden said after talks with Medvedev at his residence outside Moscow in a ringing endorsement of the Russian president.
Medvedev took over from Vladimir Putin as Kremlin chief in 2008 and many observers predicted that Medvedev would merely be a puppet of the man who has now dominated Russia for over a decade.
But Biden said: "In my career when I sat down with a Russian leader I sat with one of the most powerful men in the world. I still feel that way."
Putin in 2008 became a powerful prime minister and it remains unclear whether he or Medvedev will stand as candidate in 2012 presidential elections.
Some analysts believe that Washington strongly favours Medvedev, who has impressed many in Washington with his programme to modernise the Russian economy into an innovation-based model.
A Russian newspaper reported last week that the real motive of Biden's visit was to persuade Medvedev to stand in 2012 and offer Putin the head of the International Olympic Committee as consolation.
But the report was rubbished by both sides.
© 2011 AFP