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Last Updated: Tuesday, 25 March 2008, 15:35 GMT
Medvedev spells out power-share
Dmitry Medvedev in his FT interview, 25 March
Mr Medvedev said he was a lawyer "down to my bones"
Russia's president-elect, Dmitry Medvedev, has insisted he will be making the key decisions in his power-sharing deal with Vladimir Putin.

Mr Medvedev won a landslide election victory this month and will replace Mr Putin, who is expected to become his prime minister, in May.

The president-elect told the Financial Times newspaper that the president and government had clearly defined roles.

He praised Mr Putin for adhering to the constitution in serving just two terms.

'Effective tandem'

Mr Medvedev said: "It is the president who decides the main positions in domestic and foreign policy.

"He is the supreme commander-in-chief, and he takes the key decisions in forming the executive powers. He is the guarantor of the rights and freedoms of Russian citizens."

Russia is a country where people don't like to observe the law
Dmitry Medvedev

In contrast, the government's job was "complex, large and challenging" and included responsibility "for all economic activities".

"It's completely obvious that it has enough of its own business to attend to," Mr Medvedev, 42, said.

He agreed that in Russian history, examples of two people running the country had shown "negative consequences" but denied this would be the case now.

"I am confident that our tandem will prove to be absolutely effective," Mr Medvedev said.

Vladimir Putin. File pic
Mr Putin stepped down "at the peak of his popularity"

He said it was unusual in Russia for a "successful leader at the peak of his popularity [to move] on to a different post".

He added: "This means that at last Russia is seeing the formation of a fully fledged tradition of respecting all procedures that follow from the Constitution and other laws."

Cementing the rule of law would be one of his key priorities, he said.

"Russia is a country where people don't like to observe the law. It is, as they say, a country of legal nihilism," he said.

Stressing he was a "lawyer down to my bones", he added: "We need to make sure that every citizen understands not only the necessity and desirability of observing the law but also understands that without such a relation to the law there cannot be a normal development of our state or our society."

He said he planned to crack down on official corruption by demotivating people from taking bribes, making clear if they did so "it could destroy their life".

Mr Medvedev also said he was not happy about the prospect of Ukraine and Georgia joining Nato.

"No state can be pleased about having representatives of a military bloc to which it does not belong coming close to its borders."

On economics, he said 13% year-on-year inflation was "a fairly serious problem" but that Russia would ride out global turbulence.

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