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Russian Prime Minister Finally Joins Ruling Party

Dmitry Medvedev holds consultations with the United Russia party ahead of voting his candidacy in the State Duma on May 7.
Prime Minister and former President Dmitry Medvedev has joined the ruling United Russia party after more than four years in power.

Until now neither Medvedev, nor President Vladimir Putin -- who returned to the Kremlin earlier this month after swapping jobs with Medvedev -- had been card-carrying members.

State television on May 22 showed Medvedev showing off his new party card at a meeting with party activists in Moscow.

His membership comes ahead of a congress of United Russia on May 26 that is expected to formally confirm Medvedev as its overall leader, a position that had previously been held by Putin.

There has been no sign that Putin plans to formally join United Russia, which saw its popularity decline in December parliamentary elections.

Based on reporting by AFP and Interfax