United Russia to nominate Putin's successor

It is still unclear what role Vladimir Putin will choose after his resignation, but it’s likely that Dmitry Medvedev would be nominated his successor.

Medvedev is to be formally nominated for the race by the United Russia party, the AP reports.

Kremlin’s and Putin’s support and controlled media seem to give no chance to Medvedev’s rivals. But the main secret is the same: what will Putin be?

Putin is to step down after March 2 elections – as he is required to do that by Russia ’s constitution – but he doesn’t conceal that he is not going to give up power. Dmitry Medvedev suggested that if he’s elected as president, Putin could become his premier. But there was no answer.

Mane analysts say that Putin will not take this job and allege that he would continue calling the shots as a "national leader" of unspecified authority.

Some said Putin could retain control by becoming leader of United Russia, which won a crushing majority in Dec. 2 parliamentary elections - reproducing the Soviet model in which real power belonged to the Communist Party chief.

Others speculated that United Russia could use its control of parliament to tinker with the constitution and make Putin a prime minister with powers exceeding those of the president. Putin has said, however, that he would oppose increasing the premier's powers at the expense of the president.

Putin also has not ruled out running for president some time in the future, raising speculation that his successor could serve as a placeholder who could step down early.

The United Russia congress will be watched for clues to Putin's plans.

Medvedev also is expected to give a speech spelling out his election program.

The 42-year-old legal expert first caught the Putin's attention in 1990, when both worked in St. Petersburg's city hall. For the next 17 years, he was one of Putin's most trusted aides.

Medvedev is widely considered liberal, as opposed to hawkish members of a powerful clan of Putin's fellow KGB veterans. Experts see him as a convenient figure for Putin to continue ruling from behind the scenes or even step down early at his behest.

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