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Last Updated: Thursday, 13 September 2007, 11:48 GMT 12:48 UK
Putin's PM choice eyes presidency
Viktor Zubkov
Viktor Zubkov worked with Mr Putin in St Petersburg in the 1990s
Russia's Prime Minister-designate, Viktor Zubkov, has not ruled out running for the presidency next March to succeed Vladimir Putin.

Asked if he would seek to be president, Mr Zubkov said: "If I achieve something in the post of prime minister, I do not rule out that possibility."

Mr Zubkov was nominated by President Putin on Wednesday, in a move that surprised many observers.

Mr Zubkov, a former financial crime investigator, plans a cabinet shake-up.

"The government's structure is in my opinion incomplete. The administrative reform has not been carried out very effectively," he told reporters on Thursday.

The lower house of parliament, the State Duma, is due to vote on his nomination as prime minister on Friday.

VIKTOR ZUBKOV
1941: Born in Arbat village, Sverdlovsk region
1965: Graduates from Leningrad Agricultural Institute in economics
1967-1985: Works on collective farms in Leningrad regions
1985-1991: Works in regional administration
1991-1993: Works with Vladimir Putin in St Petersburg city administration
1993-2000: Works for federal tax service and tax ministry
From 2001: Head of financial monitoring service

He has the backing of United Russia, the pro-Putin party which has 303 of the 445 seats in the Duma.

He has been working as head of the federal financial monitoring service.

Elections to the Duma are to be held in December.

Mr Putin is barred by Russia's constitution from running for a third term as president in elections in March.

Whoever becomes the new prime minister gains a strong platform from which to campaign to replace Mr Putin, correspondents say.

Russian media had been speculating that First Deputy Prime Minister Sergei Ivanov - long considered a frontrunner for the presidency - could have been about to be made prime minister.

Mr Zubkov's links with Mr Putin go back to the early 1990s, when he was the future president's deputy on the St Petersburg city external relations committee.

None of Russia's political heavyweights has yet declared his candidacy for the presidency and Mr Putin has not yet publicly endorsed anyone.

Dmitry Medvedev, the other first deputy prime minister, has also been seen as a possible presidential candidate.

The choice of Mr Zubkov suggests a behind-the-scenes power struggle between "clans" within the Kremlin that are differentiated mainly by their degree of hostility toward the West, says the BBC's Russia analyst Steven Eke.




SEE ALSO
Putin names next prime minister
12 Sep 07 |  Europe
Profile: Viktor Zubkov
12 Sep 07 |  Europe
Country profile: Russia
12 Sep 07 |  Country profiles



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