Dmitry Medvedev is an also-ran at the launch of his re-election bid

 

Moscow

The stage was set for Russia's President Dmitry Medvedev to fire the starting gun on a bid for a second term yesterday, but a press conference attended by more than 800 journalists was more of a damp squib than a campaign launch.

Mr Medvedev was once again upstaged by the powerful Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, who released a wide-ranging interview about his masculine image to the American magazine Outdoor Life on the same day.

An announcement on whether Mr Medvedev will stay on for a second term, or the tough-talking Mr Putin will make a return to Russia's biggest job has not yet been taken. A third, less likely option, is that the two men could run against each othe, in elections that are scheduled for next March.

The Russian President gave a meandering and confused answer to the question of whether he would stand for a second term yesterday.

"We are involved in political work not for the sake of keeping warm and cosy, but in order to achieve results," he said. "Decisions of the kind you are talking about therefore must be made at the right moment, at the moment when all the right conditions are in place... If I make such a decision, I will certainly announce it."

The lack of electioneering led many to wonder why Mr Medvedev had decided to resurrect the tradition of set-piece press conferences, which happened annually under his predecessor Mr Putin, but have not featured since he entered the Kremlin three years ago.

Mr Medvedev never seemed to revel in the format quite as much as Mr Putin, and made several, unsolicited references to his "successor" and to what he would do with his life when he leaves the political arena.

But at the same time, he refused to rule out running, and the event was perhaps designed to show that he was a leader no less capable of facing the media spotlight than his predecessor, and in its own way a subtle form of electioneering.

The President emphasised several times that he and Mr Putin had similar political outlooks and worked as a team. He said, however, that Mr Putin believed the modernisation of Russia was a gradual process, while he thought it could happen more quickly.

Mr Medvedev touched on domestic and foreign policy, as well as local issues.

He accused Nato of "manipulating" UN resolutions on Libya, and said he would not support any similar resolution aimed at Syria.

He also warned of "a very bad scenario that would throw us back to the Cold War", if the US proceeded in its plans for a missile defence system without Russian support.

Mr Putin, meanwhile, was back in the limelight, as his interview with Outdoor Life was published.

In an often semi-coherent exchange, the interviewer congratulated Mr Putin for his popularity among Americans and suggested US presidents would be too scared to be pictured hunting or bare-chest horse riding, because of a surfeit of political correctness.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Telesales / Telemarketing Executive - OTE £30k / £35k plus

£18000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company specialises provid...

Austen Lloyd: Commercial Property Solicitor - Exeter

Excellent Salary: Austen Lloyd: EXETER - A great new opportunity with real pot...

Austen Lloyd: Senior Private Client Solicitor - Exeter

Excellent Salary: Austen Lloyd: EXETER - An outstanding senior opportunity for...

Sauce Recruitment: Retail Planning Manager - Home Entertainment UK

salary equal to £40K pro-rata: Sauce Recruitment: Are you available to start a...

Day In a Page

HIV pill: Scientists hail discovery of 'game-changer' that cuts the risk of infection among gay men by 86%

Scientists hail daily pill that protects against HIV infection

Breakthrough in battle against global scourge – but will the NHS pay for it?
How we must adjust our lifestyles to nature: Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch

Time to play God

Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch where we may need to redefine nature itself
MacGyver returns, but with a difference: Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman

MacGyver returns, but with a difference

Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman
Tunnel renaissance: Why cities are hiding roads down in the ground

Tunnel renaissance

Why cities are hiding roads underground
'Backstreet Boys - Show 'Em What You're Made Of': An affectionate look at five middle-aged men

Boys to men

The Backstreet Boys might be middle-aged, married and have dodgy knees, but a heartfelt documentary reveals they’re not going gently into pop’s good night
Crufts 2015: Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?

Crufts 2015

Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?
10 best projectors

How to make your home cinema more cinematic: 10 best projectors

Want to recreate the big-screen experience in your sitting room? IndyBest sizes up gadgets to form your film-watching
Manchester City 1 Barcelona 2 player ratings: Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man?

Manchester City vs Barcelona player ratings

Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man at the Etihad?
Arsenal vs Monaco: Monaco - the making of Gunners' manager Arsene Wenger

Monaco: the making of Wenger

Jack Pitt-Brooke speaks to former players and learns the Frenchman’s man-management has always been one of his best skills
Cricket World Cup 2015: Chris Gayle - the West Indies' enigma lives up to his reputation

Chris Gayle: The West Indies' enigma

Some said the game's eternal rebel was washed up. As ever, he proved he writes the scripts by producing a blistering World Cup innings
In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare and murky loyalties prevails

In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare

This war in the shadows has been going on since the fall of Mr Yanukovych
'Birdman' and 'Bullets Over Broadway': Homage or plagiarism?

Homage or plagiarism?

'Birdman' shares much DNA with Woody Allen's 'Bullets Over Broadway'
Broadchurch ends as damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

A damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

Broadchurch, Series 2 finale, review
A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower: inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

Inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower