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Patriarch Alexy II supports idea that Putin becomes PM under Medvedev as president ( 16.12.2007 )

Moscow, December 13, Interfax - Patriarch Alexy II of Moscow and All Russia supports First Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev's proposal to Vladimir Putin that he become prime minister upon the expiration of his presidential term if Medvedev is elected president.

"If there is such a combination of a new president and Vladimir Vladimirovich [Putin], provided that he gives his consent, I think this would be a great blessing for Russia," Alexy said on NTV on Thursday.

This combination "would help maintain the course that Vladimir Vladimirovich has been pursuing over the past eight years," he said.

During Putin's presidency, Russia has seen significant transformations, and its influence on the international arena has grown, the patriarch said.

"Russia has changed beyond recognition in eight years and it is amazing how much the international community reckons with it now," he said.

"It might be difficult for a man who was number one in the country and its national leader to become head of the government of the Russian Federation," he said.

"However, having known Vladimir Vladimirovich for years, I can acknowledge that ambition and pride have never prevailed in his activities," he said.

The patriarch praised "Vladimir Vladimirovich's selfless devotion to our homeland, his love for our homeland and huge efforts that he has made for the benefit of our homeland, its might, and its development for the good of our people."

Source: Orthodoxnews