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Audit Chamber head Sergei Stepashin (file photo) (AFP)
December 23, 2006 -- Russian President Vladimir Putin will retain a leadership role even if he steps down in 2008, as required by the constitution, a Russian official said.
Russian Audit Chamber Chairman Sergei Stepashin, a former prime minister and head of Russia's secret services, said in an interview published today in "Komsomolskaya pravda" that Putin could become a party leader, the head of parliament, prime minister, or head of a new state council after leaving the presidency.
Putin has vowed to step down in 2008 but has says he hopes to retain political influence.