Medvedev, who became president in 2008 as the hand-picked successor after Putin reached his two-term limit, had been seen as offering the promise of liberalization. But he left his supporters angry and disillusioned when he agreed in September to switch places with Putin, declining to run for president against his mentor. As expected, Putin nominated him for prime minister on Monday.
Putin looked impassive, occasionally even glum. “We have passed a long and difficult road together,” he said. “We now feel confident. We restored our dignity as a great nation.”
As the short ceremony concluded with stirring music, the skies outside were growing heavier and heavier. Putin walked out the way he had
come, this time stopping to acknowledge his wife, Lyudmila, who is rarely seen in public.
She was standing with Boris Yeltsin’s widow, Naina, and
Medvedev’s wife, Svetlana.
Putin kissed each woman on the cheek with equal decorum, and then spoke a few words to his wife.