Vladimir Putin is more popular in Russia: Medvedev

Dmitry Medvedev has promised to make big personnel changes in Russia`s government if he becomes Prime Minister.

Last Updated: Sep 30, 2011, 14:30 PM IST

Moscow: President Dmitry Medvedev has defended his decision not to seek a second term by saying that the nation likes Vladimir Putin more.

Medvedev told Russian television stations in an interview broadcast on Friday that he and Putin share the same goals, but acknowledged that Putin has remained Russia`s "most authoritative politician" and enjoys broader public support.

Medvedev and Putin, who is now Prime Minister, announced over the weekend that they would swap places. Putin stepped down in 2008 after eight years as president due to a term limit, but he has continued to call the shots and is certain to win March`s Presidential Election.

Putin`s United Russia party has approved his proposal that Medvedev become Prime Minister.

Russia`s opposition has denounced the swap as trampling on democracy.

President Dmitry Medvedev promised to make big personnel changes in Russia`s government if he becomes Prime Minister in a planned role reversal with Vladimir Putin after a March 2012 presidential vote.

"The government must be renewed ... it will be a pivotal renewal of the government -- a government consisting of new people. I think this is fundamentally important," Medvedev said in an interview with Russia`s leading television channels, according to transcript released on Friday.

Bureau Report