Russian President Dimitry Medvedev would love to have a second term in the Kremlin but would not run against Prime Minister and mentor Vladimir Putin if the latter wanted to have another go at the top post.
Medvedev, speaking to BBC, said reports of a worsening of ties between the two are totally false and inappropriate.
However, Medvedev made it clear there was nothing inhibiting him from wanting a second term as president, except perhaps the fact that heavy eight Putin is angling for the same job. ... any leader who holds the post of president simply must want to run, he said, while trying painfully hard to say a power struggle between him and the prime minister was not on the cards.
Vladimir Putin and myself - and Vladimir Putin is my colleague and an old friend - represent, to a large extent, one and the same political force. And therefore competition between us may be detrimental to [our] tasks and goals, he said.
Medvedev was handpicked by Putin, the most powerful politician in Russia, when he had to step down from the position of president following the end of his second term. It was deemed that Medvedev was a stand-in for Putin and that once constitutional norms are met, Putin would return as president.
Putin continued to be the most influential leader in the country years after moving to the less important post of prime minister. However, there have been reports recently that Medvedev had become more vocal in his criticism of Putin.
Political commentators believe that Putin is the more powerful one and he will get to choose which of them will become the next president. The presidential election is due in 2012.