President Dmitry Medvedev says Russia has become a freer nation during his four-year term in office.
In a rare live interview ahead of his exit next month, Medvedev said he thought Russia has made "real advances in the development of civil liberties."
Medvedev is expected to be appointed prime minister after President-elect Vladimir Putin is inaugurated in May for his third presidential term.
Medvedev predicted that he and Putin would govern Russia together "for a long time."
He also reiterated that Mikhail Khodorkovsky would not be freed from prison unless he asked for a pardon.
Once Russia's richest man, Khodorkovsky has been sentenced to prison until 2016 on two fraud convictions.
His supporters say the cases against him were a personal vendetta on the part of Putin.
Based on reporting by AFP and AP