Dmitry Medvedev back as PM to complete Russia job swap

 

Moscow

The job swap within Russia's ruling "tandem" was completed yesterday, as Dmitry Medvedev became Prime Minister, a day after Vladimir Putin switched from that job to return to the presidency.

As Mr Medvedev was voted in by the Duma, a small group of hardcore activists attempted to continue a sit-in protest against Mr Putin's return.

Mr Medvedev's ratification as prime minister was never in doubt, as the Russian parliament is dominated by Kremlin loyalists, and both leaders gave long speeches to the assembled MPs.

In his usual colourful language, Mr Putin berated the energy-dependent Russian economy, saying that "the only people to buy our galoshes were Africans who had nothing to do but walk on hot sand", and promised a new era of economic development.

Police have detained more than 600 people in the past days as massed protests against Mr Putin's return took over Moscow. The Russian leader won 63 per cent of the vote in the March elections to return him to the presidency for a six-year term after four years as prime minister, but opposition to his rule among urban elites is growing.

Two opposition leaders, the anti-corruption blogger Alexei Navalny and the radical leftist Sergei Udaltsov, have encouraged Muscovites to start a never-ending sit-in protest in the style of the Occupy movement seen in other countries. A few dozen protesters spent Monday night at a square in the Kitai-Gorod area of central Moscow, outside the Presidential Administration building. They periodically shifted as police moved them on, and eventually both Mr Navalny and Mr Udaltsov were detained and driven away. They were released later in the day and rejoined the protest. Mr Udaltsov said that the opposition was planning another mass rally for the end of the month. Amid fears that the protests are turning violent, the test now will be whether Mr Putin, in his third presidential term, will acquiesce to some of their demands or crack down further.

Early signs do not appear to point to a conciliatory mood in the Kremlin. Mr Putin's spokesperson, Dmitry Peskov, said after Sunday's riots that far from being harsh, the response of police had been too soft. An opposition MP, Ilya Ponomarev, wrote on his blog yesterday that he had confronted Mr Peskov over the comments and asked whether he really meant them.

Mr Peskov responded that far from regretting the comments, he realised that he had not gone far enough. "Those who injured police should have their livers smeared all over the asphalt," he said, according to Mr Ponomarev.

Mr Peskov could not be reached yesterday to confirm the exchange.

Suggested Topics
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Sport
sportSo, how closely were you paying attention during 2014?
Arts and Entertainment
Dennis speaks to his French teacher
tvThe Boy in the Dress, TV review
News
One father who couldn't get One Direction tickets for his daughters phoned in a fake bomb threat and served eight months in a federal prison
people... (and one very unlucky giraffe)
Arts and Entertainment
Joel Edgerton, John Turturro and Christian Bale in Exodus: Gods and Kings
film
PROMOTED VIDEO
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
Arts and Entertainment
The Plaza Theatre in Atlanta, Georgia was one of the 300 US cinemas screening
filmTim Walker settles down to watch the controversial gross-out satire
Arts and Entertainment
Amy Adams and Christoph Waltz in Tim Burton's Big Eyes
film reviewThis is Tim Burton’s most intimate and subtle film for a decade
Life and Style
Mark's crab tarts are just the right size
food + drinkMark Hix cooks up some snacks that pack a punch
Arts and Entertainment
Jack O'Connell stars as Louis Zamperini in Angelina Jolie's Unbroken
film review... even if Jack O'Connell is excellent
Arts and Entertainment
Madonna is not in Twitter's good books after describing her album leak as 'artistic rape and terrorism'
music14 more 'Rebel Heart' tracks leaked including Pharrell Williams collaboration
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

Ashdown Group: Senior Marketing Executive- City of London, Old Street

£40000 - £43000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Senior Marketing Executiv...

Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager

£40000 - £43000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: An international organisa...

Ashdown Group: Internal Recruiter -Rugby, Warwickshire

£25000 - £30000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Internal Recruiter -Rugby, Warwicksh...

Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager/Marketing Controller (Financial Services)

£70000 - £75000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager/Marketi...

Day In a Page

A Christmas without hope: Fears grow in Gaza that the conflict with Israel will soon reignite

Christmas without hope

Gaza fears grow that conflict with Israel will soon reignite
After 150 years, you can finally visit the grisliest museum in the country

The 'Black Museum'

After 150 years, you can finally visit Britain's grisliest museum
No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

Doctor Who Christmas Special TV review
Chilly Christmas: Swimmers take festive dip for charity

Chilly Christmas

Swimmers dive into freezing British waters for charity
Veterans' hostel 'overwhelmed by kindness' for festive dinner

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all