Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, who is now visiting France, answered a question about the coming parliamentary and presidential elections in Russia.
A French journalist asked Putin whether he was going to run for the presidential election in Russia in 2012.
"The main character here is not a certain candidate, but the Russian people. It is the people that will decide who is going to be the president and who is going to represent Russia in the parliament," he said.
The prime minister also promised that both the parliamentary and the presidential elections in the country will be conducted in strict compliance with laws and the Constitution.
One could see that Putin was annoyed by the question. "What is you name? You are a persistent person," Putin told the journalist.
It seemed at one moment that the prime minister was ready to make a certain statement. "No matter who becomes the president, no matter who works in the State Duma and who chairs the government - in any case these people will...most attentively be treating the development of Russian-French relations," Putin unexpectedly said.
Not to oppose himself to President Medvedev, Putin emphasized their solidarity in economic issues. "If you look at my speeches that I made recently or even in the past, all those theses have been formulated, and this is our joint program. I have repeatedly said that we are not going to build any form of state capitalism. I've said that many times in different situations and for different audiences," Putin said.
According to him, the discussion became more active after the creation of several state-run corporations, Interfax reports.
"I've said that many times before and I want to say it again. State corporations are not related to the increase of state property. Their creation is connected with other things. They were established to put segmented state resources together, to raise their capitalization and take them to the market," Putin said.
The prime minister reminded that during the crisis year private-owned companies asked the Russian government to take their property. Nevertheless, the government decided to make a different decision to solve the problems.
"We have preserved our largest private companies, and we intend to act so in the future," Putin said. "I'd like to confirm it again - this is undoubtedly our joint program with President Medvedev. Our positions on that are the same,"Putin said.
Speaking about the current situation in Syria, Putin said that one should have a disciplined and adequate approach to the issue. "Russia is perfectly aware of the fact that it is impossible to use political tool of 40 years in the modern world. This touches upon all countries, including Syria. I hope that the Syrian administration understands this and will come to necessary conclusions," the prime minister said.
"It is unpromising to interfere in the affairs of independent sovereign states. The development of the situation in separate regions shows that the state of affairs in those regions is not improving if we try to administer the process there. Moreover, it is not clear what exactly is happening there," Putin said.
Addressing a reporter, who asked the question about Russia's stance on Syria, Putin said: "You've asked me this question, but are you aware of the correlations of forces on the part of protesters? What do they want to achieve, and who wants to achieve that, which goals they have?"
The prime minister also assured the audience that Russia did not have any special relations with Syria.
"For some reason, they believe that we have some special relations with Syria. There were special ties a long time ago, during the Soviet period, but it is not like that now. Nowadays, Syria has special ties with France. Look at the volume of commodity circulation between the countries, at the number of top meetings. We do not have any special interests there: no army bases, no large projects, no multi-billion investments, which we would have to defend. There's nothing there," Putin said. The prime minister did not mention a naval base in Syria's Tartus, which the Russian navy uses as a stronghold for the ships patrolling the Mediterranean Sea.
According to Putin, Syria wants the international community to develop a solution which would improve the situation in the country, minimize the number of casualties and give people an opportunity to settle their internal conflicts peacefully. "One should not interfere, one should simply help. Interference may not always lead to the settlement of a conflict," he said.
Putin's French counterpart Francois Fillon responded with saying that Russia and France have different approaches for common goals in solving the Syrian issue. According to Fillon, he will discuss the Syrian situation with Putin again. "The UN Security Council can not keep silence anymore," the French prime minister said.
The EU insists on the introduction of sanctions against Syria. France and Britain prepared a resolution for the UN Security Council condemning the measures taken by the Syrian government to suppress demonstrations in the country. China and Russia stated, though, that they were against the interference of the international community in Syria's internal affairs.
The talks between Putin and Fillon were conducted in Matignon, the residence of the French prime minister. Putin is visiting France to discuss the bilateral economic cooperation between the two countries.
France is used to terminating large-scale contracts, as that was the case of the Russian-French deal on Mistral helicopter carriers