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Russia's Medvedev Says May Run In 2012 Vote

President Dmitry Medvedev speaks at the Valdai discussion group in Moscow, September 15, 2009.
MOSCOW (Reuters) -- Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has said he would not rule out standing for a second Kremlin term in the next election, local news agencies have reported.

Medvedev, who took over as Kremlin chief in May 2008 after Vladimir Putin's eight-year presidency, said he could not rule out standing again in 2012, though he admitted that Putin still had the highest popularity rating in the country.

"A while ago I did not even intend to stand for president but fate decreed otherwise, and this is why I do not make plans too early and do not exclude anything," Medvedev was quoted as saying by local news agencies on September 15 when asked whether he planned to run in the 2012 presidential election.

Prime Minister Vladimir Putin on September 11 gave his strongest indication yet that he may run again for the presidency in the next election.

Putin picked Medvedev as his chosen successor and backed him in 2008 presidential election. Putin became Medvedev's prime minister and their much vaunted leadership in tandem has been under scrutiny ever since.

'Change The Business Mentality'

Also on September 15, President Medvedev flexed his political muscle as he spoke to the Valdai discussion group of Russia experts, saying that Russia needs reforms to change a business mentality that relies on corruption and the export of raw materials.

Selling only raw materials -- which make up the lion's share of exports -- was "a road to nowhere," he said.

"Corrupt officials run Russia -- they have the power in the Russian Federation," Medvedev told the group, adding that Russia needed wide social and economic reforms.

"We need to change the business model, the business mentality," he said.