'Workhorse' Putin outlines 2020 Russia vision
Vladimir Putin said on Wednesday he felt like a "workhorse" rather than a VIP as he outlined his vision for Russia through 2020 amid expectations he will seek to return to the Kremlin next year.
Speaking in a magazine interview, the powerful prime minister also praised Russia's political achievements that marked his decade in power, saying he managed to avert a break-up of Russia as a country.
Russia is expected to elect a new president in March amid suggestions that current President Dmitry Medvedev, installed by Putin at the Kremlin in 2008, could step aside to let his mentor reclaim his old job.
"We've started work to make the 'Strategy-2020 up-to-date," Putin told VIP-Premier magazine, a hitherto obscure business management magazine which has a print run of 15,000 copies.
"It contains priorities for the country's development for the next decade. This is building a competitive economy based on knowledge and high technologies, the final shift to an innovative, socially-oriented type of the country's development."
In February 2008, a month before his protege Medvedev was to sail through tightly-controlled elections, Putin unveiled his vision for the country through 2020, saying Russia would become "the most attractive country to live in."
Putin's coalition appears now to be resurrecting that programme -- dubbed the Putin plan -- to make it its official platform ahead of the election season, which starts with parliamentary polls in December.
Putin reiterated his grim assessment of Russia under its first post-Soviet president Boris Yeltsin, saying the situation called for "decisive measures."
"Authorities were inefficient and the country itself looked like a community of princedoms," he said. "We literally pulled the country together."
Asked by the magazine whether he thought of himself as a "VIP-premier," Putin, who previously compared himself to a slave, quipped: "Rather, I feel like a 'workhorse' than some kind of an 'important person.'"
The interview with VIP-Premier was Putin's latest encounter with a little-known publication after he gave an interview published this month with US hunting and fishing magazine Outdoor Life.
© 2011 AFP