Putin pledges to become prime minister after leaving presidency

MOSCOW (AP) — Vladimir Putin assured his political party Monday that Russia’s age of Putin is far from over, pledging to accept an offer of the prime minister’s post when he leaves the presidency next year.

Putin, whose power still seems ascendant, finally settled on one of his many post-presidential political options, which had ranged from altering the Russian constitution so he could run again to outright retirement.

The Russian president has pledged to accept a job that is, at least on paper, a demotion — perhaps confident of the power conferred by his enormous popularity and by the loyalty of the fellow KGB veterans he placed in many of the Kremlin’s most important jobs.

Putin, 55, presented his decision in a speech to leaders of the United Russia party, shortly before they voted to nominate the president’s longtime protégé, First Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, (mehd-VEH’-dyev) as their candidate in the March 2 presidential contest.

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