Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev says Vladimir Putin had the "moral" right to return to the Kremlin for a third presidential term.
Speaking in a television interview, Medvedev on June 4 defended the job swap that saw him become Putin's prime minister for a second time after one term as president.
Medvedev said he nonetheless understood protesters who have been demonstrating for months against Putin's continued rule.
He also denied having no real say under Putin, saying the prime minister's work touched the lives of millions and could not be viewed as a mere "technical role."
Based on reporting by AFP and Interfax