Russia's Putin has no 'fetish' over 2012 polls: media
Russia's Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said in an interview published on Monday he had no "fetish" about whether he should stand in the 2012 presidential elections.
"It interests me as much as... I was going to say 'as much as anyone', but really more than everyone else!" Putin said in an interview with Russian daily Kommersant.
"But I am not making a fetish out of it!" he said, when asked if his apparent unconcern was because he had already decided for himself whether or not he should stand.
There has been intense speculation that Putin, still widely seen as Russia's most powerful leader even after he handed over to his protege Dmitry Medvedev after the end of his 2000-2008 presidency, may be planning a return to the Kremlin.
The 57-year-old ex-KGB agent has not ruled out standing in the upcoming polls, while Medvedev indicated he would not compete with his erstwhile mentor if he ran for the presidency.
In a strong hint he intends to remain involved in the country's politics for years to come, Putin said he preferred activity to inactivity.
"I only have but two choices: either to watch from the bank how the water is flowing and how something is getting destroyed or lost -- or to get involved. I prefer to be involved," Putin said.
"The important thing is that these problems of 2012 have not pulled us away from a path of stable development... such moments are seized by a political struggle, which can distract society," he said.
Building a stable, balanced state was not as simple as making pancakes, Putin noted in his trademark earthy style.
"In some countries this is never achieved. In others it drags out for tens of years! It's not like flipping flapjacks!" he said.
© 2010 AFP